It is important now more than ever to consider the risks that come with the new era of electric vehicles, says Martin Pearse, operations business partner for Ethos Broking.
With the sale of new non-electric cars ending in less than nine years, buying an electric car seems to be an inevitable personal and business decision all will have to make sooner or later,.
While currently only making up just over 1% of the UK’s vehicles on the road, electric car sales have more than doubled over the last year. Ofgem predicts that, by 2030, 6.5 million households may have an electric car. As electric vehicles continue to become more affordable and the costs to produce their batteries continue to fall, the acceleration of sales is likely to continue. With this to be reinforced by COP 26 aims, outcomes, and the Net-Zero Insurance Alliance, Electric vehicles require a more complex insurance policy, due to additional features that will need to be considered and specifically covered.
A primary concern is charging. While there will be no such thing as misfuelling from 2035, electric comes with its own risks. Regular checks and inspections must be considered so that any damage is quickly identified, and thus avoiding potential property fires; a particular risk in enclosed spaces such as garages and multi-storey car parks. As electric vehicles increase in popularity, there will no doubt be an increase in a range of other business premises installing charging points, such as leisure businesses and commercial fleets.
The lithium-ion batteries required for such vehicles also needs to be considered, as fires involving these tend to be intensive and can reignite after initial extinguishment. With this in mind, thought therefore needs to be given to the potential of the fire spreading to its surroundings.
In addition, the risk of the theft of car charging cables are increasing. Charging points therefore need to be in secure location to minimise the risk of unauthorised use, vandalism, or theft. Cyber risks have also become prevalent in the industry, with hackers gaining access to vehicle apps to prevent charging. As vehicles continue to rely more on software, this opens them up to vulnerabilities such as software glitches, system failure and even the potential for malicious cyber-attacks to steal data.
Compared to conventional vehicles, ensuring full cover for any repairs is even more important. While trained mechanics are rapidly increasing in this field, there are still considerably less trained electric car mechanics than conventional car mechanics. As the industry adjusts, it is expected that repair costs will be higher in the short to medium term.
The bottom line is that it is important that insurance buyers are absolutely clear on what is covered by their policy. Being in unfamiliar territory, it is easy for the insured to overlook areas of cover, such as the additional equipment that comes with the vehicle and the ever-important battery.