By Leon Bosch, Insurance Adviser, Partners&
Electric cars are about to be thrust onto the scene in a very big way. As part of the UK Government’s target to reach net zero emissions by 2050, it has pledged to phase out the production of all new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. Step two will see all new cars be fully zero emission at the tailpipe from 2035. So it owning an electric car closer than we think?
In a report published by the Public Accounts Committee, it says the Government’s plans are ‘ambitious’ and represent a ‘huge challenge’, as figures report that in 2020 just 11% of new car registrations were for EVs (Electric Vehicles), up just 3% from 2019. A figure which needs to be at 100% in just 14 years. Hunker down guys, it’s going to be quite the ride as we make the transition.
What you need to know about buying an electric car
So that’s the big picture, but what do you, as a potential owner, need to know when thinking about buying an electric car. Here we take a look at the basics.
1. How long does it take to charge and electric car? And where can you charge it?
Depending on the power of the source, charging an electric car could take anywhere from 45 minutes to overnight to reach full charge. For the majority of owners, they’ll have a plug-in unit installed at their home on their drive, where they can charge their car overnight. You may have also noticed charging stations popping up all over the country, at supermarkets, on streets and at service stations. Be aware, though, some of the fastest charging points are only for use by Tesla cars. In the future it’s not hard to imagine restaurants and cinemas being specifically built around super-fast charging points so diners can combine charging and entertainment at the same time.
2. What range can you expect from an electric car?
The average electric car is going to give you between 200 and 300 miles between recharges. Ask yourself honestly, when was the last time you drove more than 200 miles in a day? For the vast majority of people this will be well within their daily mileage. Range does vary and the further you can go, the higher the price will be.
3. What’s the cheapest electric car?
Yes, there are some very expensive electric cars - and high-performance ones at that - but for the average person you are looking at an entry level price of £15,000. Don’t forget, though, that with your new car you do not have to pay road tax (although you must still ‘tax’ it), no charge in emissions zones, plus you’re not paying £50 or £60 every time you fill up. Electric cars cost barely anything to charge up.
If you have questions about specialised car insurance contact our partner Partners&.
Other things to be mindful of when considering buying an electric car
Now that you’re aware of the basics when it comes to electric cars, here are some facts you also need to take into consideration before you make a decision.
EVs are currently harder to repair
Due in part to the lack of replacement parts available, EVs are currently more difficult to repair. This is also due to the complexity of the technology fitted within each of these parts, such as sensors which need calibrating post repair. Currently, some EV owners are reporting having to wait months for replacements parts. Electric cars are much more digitally technical than traditional combustion engine cars. They have sensors all over the body work and when pieces are replaced, they have to be recalibrated, not simply welded or bolted back on. The electric car technician is more akin to a computer programmer than a traditional mechanic; think less lubricant and more laptops, logins and reboots. The Institute of Motor Industry (IMI – the training body for technicians) has recently said that currently only 3% of technicians in the UK are qualified to work on an electric vehicle, a national skills shortage that needs to be addressed with urgency by the Government, to cope with inevitable upsurge in demand in 14 years' time.
In the event of a breakdown, you need specialist service
If you do breakdown in an electric car you will need to be collected by a specialist breakdown service with the ability to charge the car – EVs can’t simply be towed by a regular tow truck.
Initially EV car insurance may cost more
Understandably, because it is such a new product, insurance can be higher for electric cars. However, this will depend on a variety of factors including the type of car being insured and its value, through to your driving experience and habits. When using a specialist insurance adviser such as Partners&, we will make sure you are covered for:
- Fully comprehensive insurance cover
- Cable cover (in the case of theft or damage)
- Battery cover (if leasing the battery separately)
- Like for like replacement car cover (another electric car for you to drive whilst yours is being repaired)
- Specialist breakdown recovery service
Currently, the insurance market for electric cars is limited, so using a specialist adviser will ensure you get the very best advice and recommendations. We will also review your policy every year at renewal time to ensure it is in line with the most up to date terms and conditions as this fast-changing market develops.
Like any new product, electric cars are reducing in price all the time, technology is improving and naturally so will range and ease of use. It’s something we all need to get used to quite soon, so making the leap now could be a very wise move.
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