• Concerns about battery range, charging infrastructure and cost are the biggest barriers to people entering the electric vehicle market
• Drivers believe electric vehicles are twice as expensive to run and can’t be driven in the rain
• LV= GI dispels biggest electric car myths
Nearly half (45%) of UK drivers wouldn’t buy an electric vehicle due to the cost, with a further one in five (22%) saying the running costs are too high. However, new data1 from LV= General Insurance (LV= GI) reveals that in some cases, electric vehicle models are actually cheaper to insure than the internal combustion engine (ICE) equivalent.
Insurance not being competitively priced on electric vehicle models is just one of the many misconceptions, alongside range and charge, that acts as a barrier for drivers buying one. As a result, 5.6 million drivers2 (15%) state they would never make the switch to electric, and 44% say they’re not considering the switch right now, but might change their mind in the future.
LV= GI reveals 10 electric car myths:1. Electric cars are more expensive to run
There’s a perception that it costs between 25-50% more to insure an electric car compared to an ICE model, however the reality is that in some cases it’s cheaper to insure an electric model, and in other cases it costs less than 10% more. LV= GI reviewed its premiums data3 and the Renault Zoe is 8% cheaper to insure on average than the Clio (£287 vs £311), whereas the Nissan Leaf is only 8% or £23 more expensive than the Micra (£301 vs £278). Similarly, premiums for the Hyundai Kona (£299 EV vs £283 petrol) and Kia Niro (£307 EV vs £289 petrol) are only 6% more than their ICE equivalents.
Separately, one in five (22%) of those who wouldn’t buy an electric car say it's because the running costs are too high. However, drivers overestimate the average running cost of an electric car by almost double. According to the Energy Savings Trust4, on a full charge an electric car can run for 100 miles at a cost of £4-6, whereas drivers estimated £8.80. To travel the same distance in a petrol or diesel car costs £13-16 – higher than drivers’ estimate of £12.40. Electric cars are also exempt from road tax and London’s Congestion Charge.
2. There is no environmentally friendly way to dispose of the battery
Over half (54%) of drivers believe electric car batteries can’t be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way. However, the good news is that these batteries are already highly recyclable. Lithium-ion batteries are covered by the Battery Directive, which stipulates that at least 50% of the battery in its entirety must be recycled. What’s more, many manufacturers plan to use second-hand batteries for energy storage.
3. Electric cars shouldn’t be driven in heavy rain
There are currently 164,100 pure-electric cars on UK roads5, yet almost one in five UK drivers (17%) still believe they cannot be driven in the rain – an increase from 12% last year. Electric cars have all been extensively tested by their manufacturers to ensure top performance in a range of conditions. Electric car chargers are weatherproof, and all charge points have been through rigorous safety testing and are installed in accordance with the relevant regulations.
4. Electric cars aren’t as powerful
Almost half (49%) of UK drivers believe an electric car isn’t as powerful as petrol or diesel. However, an electric car can generate power and accelerate quicker than a petrol or diesel equivalent. The average electric vehicle can accelerate 0-60mph in just six seconds, with the quickest electric vehicle doing 0-60mph in 1.69 seconds, with a top speed of 249mph6.
5. Electric cars can’t be used for long journeys
Two in five (40%) are deterred from purchasing an electric car because they can’t be used for long distances, with a further 48% concerned by the battery running out. However, all models now have a range of over 100 miles, with some larger electric vehicles offering a range of almost 400 miles7, meaning you could drive from London to Newcastle on a single charge. LV= GI’s electric car insurance also offers roadside charging, giving you peace of mind should your battery run out whilst travelling.
6. Electric car batteries need to be replaced every five years
A common misconception is that an electric car battery needs to be replaced every five years, with 24% believing this is true. A further one in three (36%) believe second hand electric cars aren’t reliable, which also isn’t true. The current prediction is the battery will last at least 10 years, possibly up to 20 years before needing a replacement. What’s more, many manufacturers offer lengthy warranties when it comes to batteries.
7. There are no incentives on offer for buying an electric car
Three in four (75%) drivers are unaware of the incentives available for buying an electric car. Currently, the government offers a ‘plug-in-grant’ of £3,0008 – a discount on the price of brand new low-emission vehicles through a grant given to vehicle dealerships and manufacturers. From this week green number plates are being fitted to new or existing zero-emission vehicles, which the Government highlight will unlock a number of incentives for drivers, and assist local authorities when rolling out zero-emission zones and free parking for electric cars.
8. Petrol and diesel cars won’t be banned anytime soon
Currently only 20% of drivers believe petrol and diesel cars will be replaced by electric vehicles by 2030, with 7% believing electric cars will never entirely replace petrol or diesel cars. Yet, under the Prime Minister’s new 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution last month new cars and vans powered wholly by petrol and diesel will not be sold in the UK from 2030.
9. You can’t put an electric car through a car wash
More than one in five (22%) drivers are still convinced you can’t wash an electric car in a car wash. Although electricity and water tend not to mix, it’s completely safe to do so. Before electric cars are sold, they’re heavily tested, part of which includes a soak test. Therefore, it’s just as safe to take an electric car through a car wash as it is a normal car.
10. You can’t drive an electric car on a motorway
A fifth (18%) of drivers wrongly believe you can’t drive an electric car on the motorway, compared to 12% in 2019. Data9 from LV= GI partner Zap-Map reveals there are nearly 4,000 rapid chargers across the country, and they have an interactive map of all public charging points to help drivers easily locate one closest to them.
Tom Clarke, Head of Electric Vehicle Strategy at LV= General Insurance said:
“There is still a huge amount of confusion amongst drivers when it comes to electric cars. While it’s great to see the Government bring forward its ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, our research shows more action is needed to help more reluctant drivers get on board and make the switch.
“Drivers should be aware of the benefits of owning an electric vehicle, which includes having a more positive impact on the environment, lower running costs, a quieter and more enjoyable driving experience, and in some cases lower insurance premiums.
“While electric vehicles have their own needs, LV= GI’s electric car insurance means drivers should feel confident making the change, knowing they have the right cover in place to protect them.”
In April 2019, LV= GI launched the UK’s first car insurance product developed solely for electric vehicles. The product provides tailored cover to meet the specific needs of electric car owners and includes cover for home charging cables and wall boxes, the supply of electric or hybrid courtesy cars and access to a network of specialist electric car repairers across the country. In September 2020, a new service was added to the product, offering roadside charging for electric vehicles that run out of charge.
Notes to editors:
1 Research conducted by Opinium on 2,000 UK adults (18th – 21st September), additional boosts conducted in specific regions to reach 1,601 non-EV drivers (18th – 28th September)
2 In a nationally representative survey of 2,000 UK adults, 212 said they are drivers who would never consider buying an EV. 212 / 2000 * 52,673,000 (UK adult population) = 5,583,338 or 5.6 million
3 Based on new business and renewal sales on Direct between 1 Jan 2020 and 23 Nov 2020.
4 https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/transport/electric-cars-and-vehicles/electric-vehicles (data from 2019)
6 https://www.carmagazine.co.uk/electric/fastest-electric-cars/ The Aspark Owl uses four electric motors and a compact 64 kWh battery to launch from rest to 60 mph in a claimed 1.69 seconds, and has a top speed of 249mph.
7 The Tesla S model offers a range of up to 379 miles
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