EVs Damage Roads Twice As Much As Petrol Vehicles, Study Finds

In a country known for its charming historic streets and sprawling motorways, the United Kingdom is currently grappling with an increasingly noticeable issue: potholes. The situation appears to have a surprising perpetrator at its core – the electric vehicles (EVs) that were once hailed as the heroes of our environment.

EVs: A Heavy Burden on the UK’s Roads?

A recent report by Telegraph UK has shone a light on the potential role of electric vehicles in exacerbating the UK’s pothole problem. With weights averaging around 312kg more than their petrol and diesel counterparts, primarily due to their heavy batteries, EVs are believed to place 2.24 times more stress on the roads.

The result? Asphalt sees greater movement, leading to small cracks that ultimately form into the notorious potholes plaguing the nation’s drivers.

The £12 Billion Pothole Pandemic

With an estimated £12 billion needed to address the existing potholes across the UK, this issue is more than just a minor annoyance for motorists. Last year, half the number of potholes were filled compared to a decade ago, painting a grim picture of a worsening situation.

In addition, the UK’s shift towards EVs is accelerating. With the number of EVs on the roads tripling since 2019 to reach 900,000, the potential impact on the nation’s roads can no longer be ignored.

The Elephant in the Room: Larger Vehicles

However, it’s crucial to address another crucial contributor to this crisis: heavier, larger vehicles such as SUVs and lorries. These vehicles, whether electric or not, naturally impose a greater burden on road surfaces due to their weight.

For context, the Department for Transport estimates that there are approximately 2 million much heavier vans and lorries on the UK’s roads. In comparison to the relatively small number of EVs currently, it seems unbalanced to put the full weight of the problem on the latter.

Future Prospects: A Lighter Load on the Horizon?

Interestingly, experts predict a potential easing of this problem in the coming years. By 2035, around 80% of miles could be driven by electric vehicles, but by that time, the weight of these vehicles is expected to have significantly reduced.

Various fuel alternatives, such as hydrogen or synthetic fuels, are also being explored. These could offer a viable option for heavier vehicles, leading to lighter road loads and a subsequent reduction in potholes.

The Road Ahead: A Matter of Shared Responsibility

The current predicament clearly highlights the complex interplay between sustainable transport goals and infrastructure capacity. While EVs are an essential component of the UK’s plan to achieve net-zero carbon emissions, the switch to these heavier vehicles underscores the importance of adapting our road infrastructure to accommodate this shift.

Ultimately, the journey towards sustainable mobility must consider all aspects of the road network – from the vehicles we drive to the surfaces on which they run. As the UK continues to navigate its path to a greener future, it’s clear that the road to success will require overcoming a few potholes along the way.