NEW YORK, NY – A very real need to reevaluate older structures utilized for vehicle storage has been making headlines lately after a parking garage in New York City collapsed, killing at least one person and injuring several others.
This comes in light of the fact that electric vehicles (EVs), on average, weigh significantly more than their internal combustion engine-powered counterparts. For example, a Tesla Model S is more than a thousand pounds heavier than a gas-powered Mercedes E-Class, and a GMC Hummer EV – at a whopping 9,000 pounds, about half the weight of a school bus – is 2,400 pounds heavier than the comparatively-sized Hummer H2.
As EV adoption continues, the need to address how all that extra weight will affect aging parking structures, with many experts saying it may be necessary to reinforce – or even replace – current parking garages that can’t handle the extra load.
The parking garage that collapsed in New York City, according to reports, had several active violations at the time of the incident, and was originally constructed in 1925 and first licensed as a garage in 1957. The cause of the collapse is currently unknown, but the structure had reportedly been updated in recent years and was licensed to hold up to 276 vehicles at the time it failed.
Car park consultant and structural engineer Chris Whapples has been working to draw up new guidelines that may be utilized to evaluate and advise on the floor strength of parking garages, saying that the time has come to reevaluate these structures as more and more EVs are parking in them.
If some older garages can’t be updated, Whapples said, then it may be necessary to impose new weight limits on vehicles.
I don’t want to be too alarmist, but there definitely is the potential for some of the early car parks in poor condition to collapse,” he said. “We have height restrictions in car parks, why not weight?”
Joe Mcdermott is a staff reporter who keeps his eyes peeled for interesting automotive news. He works mainly for our subsidiary, The Published Reporter® as well as our IT firm, SEARCHEN NETWORKS®. Mcdermott, one of our first and thus veteran reporters, is also a data analyst for select independent news and media organizations in the United States.