Can an electric car “dive” in a rainstorm, and how big is the impact after wading? What the experts say

“Even if the water-soaked vehicle enters the market after repair, the operator must inform the customer the true information of the vehicle, and the customer must sign and confirm it.”

According to the China Weather Weibo news, this year’s No. 6 typhoon “Fireworks” made landfall on the coast of Putuo, Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province at 12:30 noon on the 25th. The intensity of the landfall was typhoon-level. From the next to the 29th, Zhejiang Shaoxing, Zhoushan, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Shanghai, Suzhou and other places will usher in heavy rains and extremely heavy rains one after another.

Prior to this, Henan Province also encountered extreme heavy rainfall in recent days, which has caused considerable casualties and property losses to Henan and other places. Statistics from the Henan Insurance Industry Association show that as of 18:00 on July 23, the Henan property and casualty insurance industry had received approximately 180,000 auto insurance claims, with an initial loss estimated at over 5.2 billion yuan.

Can an electric car "dive" in a rainstorm, and how big is the impact after wading? What the experts say

On July 20, vehicles were flooded on the streets of Zhengzhou City. Image source: Xinhua News Agency

It is worth noting that many of these auto insurance claims are related to electric vehicles. In this heavy rain, many electric vehicle owners turned on the “amphibious” mode and shuttled in the emergency rescue team. There is a live video showing that even if the stagnant water has overflowed the canopy, the electric vehicle can still continue to drive like a “submarine.”

In this regard, Sun Chuancai, technical director of Coppola Automotive Consulting Services (Qingdao) Co., Ltd., said that from the specific analysis of the three-electric system (ie battery, motor, and electronic control), the impact of electric vehicles on their residual value and subsequent performance after wading is still Relatively large.

Electric cars wading through water are difficult to ensure safety

In fact, because of its product characteristics, electric vehicles usually pay more attention to sealing in the design of the three-electric system. The “Safety Requirements and Test Methods for Power Batteries for Electric Vehicles” issued by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China has clear requirements. The power battery cell products of new energy vehicles need to be more corrosive and contain 3.5% chlorination at full charge. Soak in the sodium solution for two hours. During this period, the battery pack is required to be used normally without fire and explosion.

“Currently, electric vehicles are mainly transformed by high-voltage electricity, and their sealing level is generally IP67. Since the air intake device is not involved, the wading capacity of electric vehicles is theoretically stronger than that of fuel vehicles.” Sun Chuancai said.

As a protection level grading system drafted by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the IP protection level is composed of two numbers. Among them, the first number indicates the level of protection against dust and foreign objects, and the second number indicates the degree of airtightness of the appliance against moisture and water intrusion. The larger the number, the higher the level of protection.

Take IP67 as an example, its dustproof grade is 6, which can completely prevent foreign objects and dust from entering; the waterproof grade reaches 7, which means that the appliance is in the water for a certain period of time or the water pressure is under a certain standard, which can ensure that it will not be immersed in water. And cause damage.

“In addition to the external protective structure of the battery and motor, electric vehicles have also been equipped with several safety protection devices during production. The instrument information will show whether the vehicle is in a leaking or insulated state, so as to prevent the owner from getting an electric shock.” Sun Chuancai said .

However, it should be noted that an electric vehicle with a strong protection level and protection program does not mean that the safety of wading driving can be guaranteed. Sun Chuancai said that because the underwater road environment is not controllable, when an electric vehicle wades on an unknown road, it may scratch the battery at the bottom of the device and cause danger. “If the bottom of the battery is damaged, impurities in the water may conduct electricity inside the battery, causing the battery’s cell gap to be too short, which may cause heat, and even cause a combustion and explosion.” Sun Chuancai said.

On the other hand, compared with the vehicle’s three-electric system, the waterproof level of the circuit harness and cable joints of electric vehicles is relatively low, and can basically achieve the IPX4~IPX6 protection level to prevent splashing and water jet intrusion. This also means that even if the three-electric system is waterproof and dustproof, there may be problems with the circuit harness and cable joints, causing electric vehicles to face greater safety hazards when wading through water.

Expert: Electric vehicle wading has a great impact on residual value, and the maximum cost of replacing batteries is close to 40,000 yuan

According to relevant research reports of New Era Securities , among the cost of electric vehicles, the total cost of batteries, electronic controls, and electrical controls of motors account for more than 60% of the total vehicle cost. This means that once the three-electric system of an electric vehicle encounters a water failure, it will face higher maintenance costs and a loss of residual value of used vehicles than fuel vehicles.

Taking the motor as an example, Sun Chuancai said that since the current electric vehicles generally use permanent magnet motors, the motors can only be replaced as a whole after wading, and other maintenance technologies are still immature.

The cost of replacing the power battery is more expensive. According to the data monitored by the Ivy Economic Research Institute, in 2020, the price of lithium iron phosphate batteries is about 531 yuan ~ 639 yuan/kW·h, and the price of ternary lithium batteries is about 682 yuan ~ 789 yuan/kW·h. Based on the capacity of a 50kW·h battery pack, the cost of replacing lithium iron phosphate batteries is as high as 26,600 to 32,000 yuan, while the cost of replacing ternary lithium batteries is close to 40,000 yuan.

From a technical perspective, electric vehicles will also damage their hardware performance after wading, which will affect their residual value performance.

Sun Chuancai said that water vapor entering the vehicle battery pack will have a greater impact on battery performance and will also affect the vehicle’s subsequent endurance. In severe cases, the battery will generate heat or short circuit, and even cause smoke and explosion. However, if the water vapor cannot be drained after the water enters the vehicle control system, the integrated circuit board will gradually be corroded by the water vapor, which will affect its overall performance.

“When an electric vehicle has a short wading time, the performance of the high-voltage line of the vehicle may not be affected by the infiltration of water vapor for the time being, but there may be more failures in the low-voltage line.” Sun Chuancai said, from the three power systems, namely batteries, motors, The specific analysis of electronic control shows that the residual value and subsequent performance of electric vehicles after wading are still relatively large.

“Compared with traditional fuel vehicles, the batteries and high-voltage systems of new energy vehicles cause greater harm after being soaked in water.” said Wang Zhanguo, director of the Power Battery Laboratory of Beijing Jiaotong University.

In the China Automobile Dealers Association promulgated the “second-hand electric passenger vehicle identification assessment of technical specifications” (hereinafter referred to as “standard”), the assessment of flood damage detection of new energy vehicles put forward higher requirements than traditional fuel vehicles, vehicle There are also relatively more items to be inspected and specific evaluation criteria, which further reduces the risk of consumers buying “second-hand electric soaking cars”.

In addition, as to how consumers should avoid buying water tankers, Wu Xingcai, assistant general manager of the China United Property & Casualty Insurance Claims Department, said that the insurance industry has established a large database at present. When second-hand water tankers are renewed or traded again, they will Remind that the vehicle may have been at risk of disaster.

“Even after flood damage repaired vehicle to enter the market, operators must inform the customer of the vehicle really is the letter information, and requires the customer to sign it.” Automotive industry expert Wang Meng said that consumer rights are protected by law, as long as the vehicle is from Formal businessmen buy and sign contracts. If the merchants deliberately commit fraud, consumers can sue the merchants and demand “refunds one for three” or even return the car, so consumers don’t have to worry about buying a water tanker.

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