Electric car breakdowns three times more likely to be caused by wheel or tyre issues than running out of charge

  •  Just 11% of breakdowns caused by batteries being out of charge, compared to 37% for flat tyres or wheel issues, dispelling myth about range anxiety
  •  LV= Britannia Rescue provides advice on how to get your electric car ready for winter 

Potential new electric car owners are often put off making the switch because of range anxiety and the concern of running out of charge, but new research from LV= Britannia Rescue, one of the UK’s leading breakdown providers, shows that they are actually three times more likely to break down because of wheel or tyre problems, rather than anything to do with the battery.

Analysis of breakdown call outs over the last three years shows that 37% of the time drivers are ringing up because they’ve suffered wheel or tyre problems, compared to just 11% for running out of charge. This is also more than twice as often as petrol or diesel cars, where on average just 16% cite wheel or tyre issues as the cause of breakdown.

Wheel or tyre problems are often attributed to the excess weight of the car, caused by the battery, which can make it up to 50% heavier than a traditional petrol or diesel car. Wheel issues are sometimes made more complicated by the fact that most manufacturers no longer fit a spare wheel as standard, so drivers caught mid-journey with a flat tyre or wheel issue can’t fix the problem themselves and need towing to a local garage.

Drivers being unable to start their electric car, often at home, accounts for 21% of calls – otherwise known as ‘dead on key’. There are a variety of reasons this could happen, such as a flat battery, a battery not holding its charge or the vehicle not being driven for a length of time, but it is more prevalent in the winter months with cars taking that bit longer to warm up.

The ‘dead on key’ issue for electric car drivers happens little more than half as often it does for petrol or diesel cars, which features as the breakdown reason in 41% of calls to LV= Britannia Rescue.

Henry Topham, Managing Director of LV= Britannia Rescue, commented: “Range anxiety has been built up to be a thing for people to be concerned about when it comes to going green, but our data shows that in reality it’s a very rare issue for electric car drivers. Generally electric cars perform very well and aren’t susceptible to suffering nearly as many issues as petrol or diesel models, but if you do have a problem it’s more likely to be wheel or tyre related, or dead on key. And as we get into the cold, dark winter months it’s good for drivers to be aware of these potential issues and make sure their car is regularly being checked and looked after.”

Winter and a spate of colder weather is traditionally a time when electric vehicles can run into tyre and battery problems. With that in mind here are some tips to keep your vehicle in working order: 

1. Check your tyres regularly
– when electric cars do break down, it’s often because of wheel/tyre problems. And because almost all electric cars don’t have a spare wheel fitted as standard, it’s definitely worth checking your tyre pressure and the condition and alignment of your tyres on a regular basis, especially in winter months. If you’re not sure how frequently to do it, refer to your manufacturer’s manual, as some recommend more frequent checks

2. Check the weather forecast(!) – electric cars are most likely to run out of charge in cold or wet weather conditions, with low temperatures and rain sometimes compromising the performance of the battery. It’s worth checking the weather forecast so you know when to potentially expect a bit less range, which can dip, particularly in winter months. It’s worth keeping your battery level at around 80 per cent, to keep its health in good condition

3. Don’t spend too long warming up the car in cold weather
– use the pre-heat function to warm up your car. With most electric cars you can use an app to set the car to pre-heat and defrost the vehicle. This avoids the need to get the ice scraper out, and means the car is warm when you’re ready to set off 

In September last year, LV= Britannia Rescue launched a new, market-leading service with AFF, the national roadside electric vehicle charging assistance company, offering roadside charging for electric vehicles that run out of charge. AFF recharge vans can provide a 30-minute mobile charging facility (average 10 miles of battery) on roads across England and Wales, including the hard shoulder and emergency refuge areas of motorways, providing roadside support for electric car drivers who are unable to make it to their destination or encounter issues with charge points.

LV= Britannia Rescue has over 4,000 breakdown professionals and an average response time of just 47 minutes*. For more information visit

For more information on electric cars, from the basics to charging and costs, visit

For further information:

Simon Ansell
Media Relations Manager, General Insurance
07826 953024


*Average response time of 46.51 mins. 95% of 105,749 customers were able to compete their journey. From Agent Performance Report Dec ’20 – May ’21