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10 electric car myths busted

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

With the ban on new petrol and diesel car sales set for within the decade, attention has focused onto the electric vehicle market. Here are 10 common electric car myths busted.

Concerns about cost, battery range and the charging infrastructure are preventing drivers from going green, according to research from LV= General Insurance.

It found 45% of UK drivers wouldn’t buy an electric vehicle due to the cost, with one in five saying the running costs are too high.

For others, the concern centres around insurance. LV= found given the misconceptions, 5.6 million drivers wouldn’t make the switch to electric.

As such, it has busted the 10 common myths of electric car ownership, from whether they can be driven in the rain, when batteries need to be replaced and if they can be used for long journeys:

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 (internal combustion engine) model. But in some cases it’s cheaper to insure an electric model, and in other cases it costs less than 10% more.

A review of LV= premiums data revealed the Renault Zoe model 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.

The insurer added that drivers also overestimate the average running cost of an electric car by almost double. According to the Energy Savings Trust, 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. Lithium-ion batteries are covered by the Battery Directive, which states that at least 50% of the battery in its entirety must be recycled. Many manufacturers also 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 roads, but 17% of UK drivers believe they can’t be driven in the rain. LV= said electric cars have been extensively tested by 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 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 249mph.

5) Electric cars can’t be used for long journeys

Two in five 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 miles, meaning you could drive from London to Newcastle on a single charge.

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. One in three (36%) also believe second hand electric cars aren’t reliable. The current prediction is the battery will last at least 10 years, possibly up to 20 years before needing a replacement. Many manufacturers also offer lengthy warranties when it comes to batteries.

7) There are no incentives on offer for buying an electric car

Three in four drivers are unaware of the incentives available for buying an electric car. Currently, the government offers a ‘plug-in-grant’ of £3,000 – a discount on the price of brand new low-emission vehicles through a grant given to vehicle dealerships and manufacturers.

Green number plates are being fitted to new or existing zero-emission vehicles, which the government said will help 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, 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

One in five drivers are convinced you can’t put an electric car through the 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, LV+ confirms.

10) You can’t drive an electric car on a motorway

A fifth of drivers wrongly believe you can’t drive an electric car on the motorway. Data 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=, said: “There is still a huge amount of confusion among 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.”