The Biden administration’s electric vehicle (EV) agenda could have significant impacts on America’s transportation infrastructure, according to new research and multiple reports.
The administration wants EVs to comprise 50% of all new car sales by 2030, and federal agencies are spending big and regulating aggressively to reach that goal. EVs may be too heavy for steel safety guardrails on America’s highways to handle, according to new research from the University of Nebraska, and heavier models may also wear out asphalt at a much quicker rate than gas-powered equivalents, according to Forbes.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released a report card taking stock of the country’s infrastructure in March 2021, giving America’s roads a “D” grade.
EVs tend to weigh about 20% to 50% more than gas-powered equivalents, according to the University of Nebraska’s Midwest Roadside Safety Facility. In addition to the extra weight, EVs also have a lower center of gravity than internal combustion engine models, which makes them more prone to forcefully breaking through metal guardrails designed to keep cars from falling off the road in the event of an accident.
Buttigieg says you don’t have to worry about gas prices if you buy an electric vehicle…someone should remind him how out of touch he sounds pic.twitter.com/tiJVkl7wB3
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 7, 2022
“We knew it was going to be an extremely demanding test of the roadside safety system,” Cody Stolle, the assistant director of the University of Nebraska’s Midwest Roadside Safety Facility, told The Associated Press. “The system was not made to handle vehicles greater than 5,000 pounds.”
The Biden administration signed a global memorandum of understanding at COP27, the 2022 United Nations climate summit, committing to a goal of reaching 100% zero-emissions truck sales by 2040. California, a state that sets stringent auto emissions regulations that many other states have opted to follow, is on its way to banning the sale of new diesel trucks by 2036.
EV weight has also attracted the attention of Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board. She aired her concerns in January 2023 that heavier EVs on the road may pose risks for drivers of smaller cars that collide with them in accidents.
The extra weight of EVs, especially electric buses or electric trucks, also poses potential problems for pavement, according to Forbes. Larger vehicles already cause far more damage to pavement than the typical sedan, for example, so the proliferation of battery-powered buses and trucks that can weigh thousands of pounds more than gas-powered equivalents would likely degrade American asphalt more quickly.
For example, the “bus rapid transit lines” featuring electric buses in Indianapolis, Indiana, wore out pavement in less than three years of service, according to the Thoreau Institute. The city then had to repave the affected streets, costing money and causing inconvenience for locals.
The nationwide proliferation of EVs envisioned by the Biden administration could be bad news for America’s roads, which are generally not in excellent condition.
The U.S.’ roadways are “frequently underfunded, and over 40% of the system is now in poor or mediocre condition,” according to ASCE’s 2021 report card.
The White House, the Department of Energy and the Department of Transportation did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation