Multi-storey car parks ‘could collapse’ under weight of EVs

Engineer says some EVs could be banned from ageing structures

The rise in the number of electric vehicles could have serious implications for car park structures, according to a civil and structural engineer.

Chris Whapples told The Telegraph the ageing structures could collapse under the weight of modern EVs, pointing to the fact that batteries are around ten times heavier than the same volume of fossil fuel and three times heavier than an aluminium engine.

”I don’t want to be too alarmist, but there definitely is the potential for some of the early car parks in poor condition to collapse.

”Operators need to be aware of electric vehicle weights, and get their car parks assessed from a strength point of view, and decide if they need to limit weight.

“We have height restrictions in car parks, why not weight?”

Writing for New Civil Engineer, Whapples, a structural and parking consultant with 35 years’ experience, said the average weight of vehicles has increased from 1500kg to 2000kg. “Large electric cars which are coming on stream have a kerbweight of around 2500kg and the larger SUVs can be over 2800kg.

“The increase in loading has significant implications for existing car parks, especially older ones which may have been weakened by structural deterioration or have issues of concern. Should the structure fail, it would be difficult to blame the owner or driver of the vehicle and the onus would be on the owner/operator of the car park to ensure that it is safe.

He is calling for existing car parks to be given a structural appraisal to ensure that they are of sufficient strength.

“If the factor of safety is found to be inadequate, it may be necessary to undergo a regime of strengthening, but if this is too expensive then a weight limit will need to be imposed on entry. This could be by the use of signage or some form of electronic tagging,“ he says.

Source: New Civil Engineer

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