“Total rusting”: Experts warn of the great weakness of electric cars

Deepak Gupta January 17, 2022
Updated 2022/01/17 at 11:37 AM

The galvanizing of susceptible components and the sealing of risky gaps actually put an end to rust years ago. The beetle or duck with a rusted-through body is no longer a common problem – one would think so. In fact, it seems that with the future of mobility, the electric cars, even old defects back on the plan.

Electric cars with rust problems

Especially in the Tesla Model 3, future and past seem to meet. The reason for this is sometimes the lightweight construction with increased use of aluminum and magnesium. It is actually intended to use the electric motors, some of which are weaker in comparison, more efficiently. However, it also leads to an increased risk of rust in the otherwise well thought-out electric cars.

The lighter building materials would pose a challenge in terms of corrosion, explains Marco Oehler to auto motor und sport. He is technical director of the Society for Technical Monitoring (GTÜ).

“If unfavorable material pairings meet in hidden places that are less well protected against corrosion, moisture penetrates during daily use and thus acts as an electrolyte, corrosion spots occur on the inside that only become visible from the outside later.”

Marco Oehler

Extreme example Model 3

The industry magazine team put Tesla’s blockbuster to the test. The rust expert Ralf Rößler took a closer look at a Model 3 with a mileage of just 300 kilometers. The first spots of rust have already been discovered. However, Rößler found other shortcomings. The frame of the electric car is only painted on the surface, while the A-pillar is completely filled with construction foam.

“It will soak up water. In six months it will be brown, in six years it will be completely rusty. The whole front beam rusts first because the water has nowhere to drain.”

Ralf Roessler

If an accident occurs when the infestation is severe, it can have serious consequences. “Rust has an impact on a car’s crash safety. Especially when load-bearing structures are attacked,” confirms ADAC expert Maximilian Bauer. This applies above all to sills, “which are often the most likely to rust and play a very important role in the rigidity of passenger cells”. With the ultimatum from the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) for Tesla, the company in Germany is currently facing completely different problems.

Source: auto motor und sport

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