Why Are Electric Car Batteries so Heavy?

It’s no longer news that electric cars are the heaviest on the block. And that it’s the battery that makes them so heavy.

For instance, the average Tesla battery weighs more than 1000 pounds (450 kg). That’s a lot of weight for just one component of the car.

But, what makes electric car batteries so heavy?

What makes electric car batteries so heavy is the large amount of lithium and lead used in making them strong enough to power the vehicles. The bigger the kWh of the batteries, the more they weigh. The batteries also requires a strong metal armor around them for safety reasons, which further bumps up their weight.

If you’ve been curious about why electric car batteries are so heavy, you’re in the right spot.

Stay tuned for more info.

Average Weight of Electric Car Batteries

Why are Electric Car Batteries so Heavy

A car battery is a vital component of equipment, so it must be rather massive and heavy right? They are certainly big compared to your TV remote’s battery! They also weigh a lot more than your remote’s batteries.

The average regular 12 volt automobile battery weighs 40 lbs (18 kg). The average fully electric automobile battery weighs roughly 1,000 pounds or 450 kg (that’s as much as the entire weight of these 10 cars).

You may check your car’s battery weight by looking at the battery’s label or its box. Car batteries can be as small as 25 lbs, or as heavy as 1,836 lbs (currently at least, the planned Tesla Semi will have a 600 kWh battery that will weigh nearly 8000 lbs).

The table below shows the capacity of common electric car batteries. The capacity and size for most of these batteries are measured kWh (Kilowatt-Hour) across the various electric car manufacturers.

Battery SizeAverage Weight
22 kWh363 lbs (165 kg)
30 kWh547 lbs (248 kg)
40 kWh672 lbs (305 kg)
50 kWh718 lbs (326 kg)
60 kWh948 lbs (430 kg)
70 kWh1102 lbs (500 kg)
80 kWh1267 lbs (575 kg)
90 kWh1389 lbs (630 kg)
100 kWh1543 lbs (700 kg)
200 kWh1836 lbs (833 kg)
600 kWh
(Coming Tesla Semi)
7800 lbs (3538 kg)

List of Reasons Why Electric Car Batteries Are so Heavy 

There are several reasons why electric car batteries are really heavy. The main and most obvious reason is the fact that the battery powers the car mainly unlike combustion engine cars. Hence, the battery makes up a great deal of the car’s weight.

There are also other reasons like the efficiency and composition of electric batteries. Let’s examine these reasons below:

1. Electric batteries are made with large amounts of Lithium-ion

lithium ion

Lithium-ion (and lithium polymer) batteries were initially designed for laptops and consumer gadgets. Their high energy density and long cycle life have made them the preferred EV battery type.

But the metal is heavy, just 1 cubic foot of Lithium weighs 33,3 pounds (15,12 kg).

N. Godshall first exhibited a lithium cobalt oxide cathode and a graphite anode in 1979, followed by John Goodenough and Akira Yoshino.

In addition to temperature sensitivity, typical lithium-ion batteries have an age-related performance decline. Traditional lithium-ion batteries can catch fire if punctured or charged incorrectly due to the volatile organic electrolytes, highly oxidized metal oxides, and thermal instability of the anode SEI layer.

Earlier cells couldn’t take or deliver charge when cold, therefore heaters were required in some climes. This technology is moderately mature. Tesla’s Roadster (2008) and other cars use customized lithium-ion “laptop battery” cells.

Recent EVs use new lithium-ion chemistry variations that sacrifice specific energy and power for fire resistance, environmental friendliness, quick charging (minutes), and longer lifespans.

For instance, the A123 lithium iron phosphate batteries have been proven to endure at least 10 years and 7000 charge/discharge cycles, and LG Chem expects their lithium-manganese spinel batteries to last up to 40 years. These performance requirements led to the production of very heavy electric vehicle batteries.

2. Metal armor around the battery

In the event that a battery is punctured or severely damaged, it is possible that it will explode. There must be a strong shell around the battery to protect it in order to avoid this catastrophe.

This shell is made of heavy-duty metal that provides protection in the form of armor. When you hear the words “heavy-duty” and “metal” in the same sentence, you already know that there is an extra layer of weight on top of the item.

3. Electric cars need longer lasting batteries

Electric cars are propelled over hundreds of miles by the battery and do not need to be charged every time. Hence, these batteries are built big to fit the use that they are built for.

The higher the kWh an electric car battery has, the more it weighs. The Tesla Semi truck which is not yet released has a 600 kWh battery that weighs around 8000 pounds. The other models of Tesla equally have a battery that weighs 1000 pounds.

Tesla semi truck
The Tesla Semi Truck // Source: Wikipedia

The energy density of heavier batteries is higher than that of lighter batteries made of the same material. If you need to store a lot of energy, a heavy one is an obvious choice. However, if you want to lose weight, you must make a trade-off between energy and weight.

Related reading:

4. Electric car batteries must be heavy to achieve the mileage range needed by the market

Electric car batteries are the substitute powerhouse in electric cars and are the thing that generates the power. Most modern internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles comes with an average range of between 350-450 miles.

Electric vehicles must reach these mileage ranges as well to be competitive in the market. So, the batteries must be heavy so they can fit the amount of energy required for the vehicle to achieve similar mileages to ICE vehicles.

Why Are Some Car Batteries Heavier Than Others?

The weight of a car battery is influenced by a number of things. First and foremost, the battery’s contents are extremely heavy. Lithium-ion is a heavy element that contributes significantly to the weight of the battery. As a result, alternative batteries are frequently significantly lighter than lithium-ion batteries.

The battery’s dimensions also contribute to its overall weight. A battery with more cells will contain more materials, which will result in a heavier battery overall.

Where Can You See How Much Your Electric Car’s Battery Weigh?

Checking the weight of your electric car’s battery is relatively easy. All you need to do is log on to the manufacturer’s official website and check for the kWh and weight.

If the weight isn’t provided but the kWh is, you can search for the weight of car batteries with the corresponding kWh on any search engine of your choice. However, manufacturers ensure to provide details like this to customers who are eager to learn more about their vehicles. 

Another option would be contacting the support team of the company you got the electric car from. The details from support would be tested, trusted, and verified.

Can The Heaviness of The Batteries be a Drawback For The Electric Vehicle?

Tesla electric vehicle weight

Batteries are hefty, and they’re just becoming heavier as time goes on. It causes electric vehicles to pollute more than they should (from requiring more materials and also from the added wear to the suspension, wheels and tires) and to be more lethal in crashes.

As an example, if a Tesla semi-truck crashes, the battery alone weighs 8000 pounds, not to mention the additional cargo weight. This may be extremely dangerous.

On the other hand, the weight of electric vehicles makes them more stable on the road and can be beneficial, but improved methods to optimize weight and performance in the future will be extremely beneficial.

Related reading:

How Heavy is a Hybrid Car Battery?

The weight of a hybrid car battery varies from model to model, just like other electric car batteries.

The rechargeable battery in the hybrid Toyota Prius, for example, weighs 118 pounds. The Honda Accord, another hybrid, has a battery that weighs nearly half as much. Hence, the average EV battery weighs 130 pounds.

The table below contains details about the most common hybrid EV batteries and their weight. These batteries effectively perform their duties in these hybrid vehicles. 

Hybrid BatteryWeight
Toyota Prius Hybrid Battery118 pounds
Toyota Highlander Hybrid Battery198 pounds
Ford Escape Hybrid Battery160 pounds
Honda Insight Hybrid Battery67 pounds
Saturn Vue Hybrid Battery108 pounds

Hybrid cars are vehicles that blend the technology of electric vehicles with the technology of traditional automobiles.

A hybrid vehicle uses a 12-volt lead-acid battery and gasoline in the same way as a typical vehicle, but it also draws energy from an electric battery to power the vehicle. The vehicle is capable of switching effortlessly between power sources, with the driver being completely unaware of the change.

Hybrid car

Regenerative braking is a technology that allows the electric battery to recharge while the vehicle is in motion. The energy released when the driver hits the brake pedal is used to recharge the electric battery in the vehicle. The ability to switch between electric and gas power is essential to the excellent energy efficiency of hybrid vehicles. 

In contrast to regular automobiles, hybrid vehicles are only fueled by gas for a portion of the time, resulting in a 20 to 35 percent greater fuel efficiency. A hybrid vehicle is also less polluting to the environment as a result of the reduction in its emissions.

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