SOMETHING strange happened last week: the Guardian published an article which was worth reading. It concerned the massive insurance costs owners of electric vehicles (EVs) are facing.
Here’s how the article started: ‘Driving an electric car should be a win-win, saving money and the planet. So David was shocked when the insurance on his Tesla Model Y came up for renewal, and Aviva refused to cover him again, while several other brands turned him away. When David did secure a new deal, the annual cost rocketed from £1,200 to more than £5,000.’
It went on: ‘A recent cost of living bulletin from the Office for National Statistics revealed that the price of car insurance – which for many Britons is one of their biggest household bills – is up by 52.9 per cent in the last 12 months. However, this average masks bigger increases for electric car owners, according to Confused.com. Its figures, derived from quotes, show that insurance premiums for electric vehicles are 72 per cent – or £402 – higher than this time last year, at a typical £959. Meanwhile, for petrol and diesel car drivers, the increase is 29 per cent, or £192, taking the figure to £848.’
Moreover, several insurance companies are simply refusing to insure EVs.
The problem seems to be the fragility of EV batteries and the enormous cost of replacing them if you have even just a small bump. As one reader explained:‘If I kerb bump my £4,000 diesel Renault Megane at 4mph it’s a £50 wheel re-alignment at the next service. If a £50,000 EV does the same, it’s potentially a slightly damaged battery and 100 per cent write off. They’re rubbish’.
You might think: ‘Why should I care since I don’t drive an EV?’ Well, when the politicians see that high insurance costs are putting people off buying the EV which they are determined to push on us, they’ll yet again attack petrol and diesel car owners.
A few years ago the EU insisted that young male drivers could not be charged higher car insurance premiums than young female drivers, notwithstanding the major difference in risk. The European Court of Justice ruled that taking gender into account when calculating car insurance premiums violated EU gender equality legislation. Regulations banning the practice came into effect in December 2012 and remain in force in the UK although we’ve since left the EU.
I predict that charging EV drivers more than ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) drivers, will also be outlawed. So there will be a massive rise in motor insurance costs for drivers of ICE cars. Maybe our rulers will even decide that, as EV drivers are dutifully (and expensively) saving the planet while ICE drivers are supposedly intent on destroying it, perhaps EV drivers may be relieved of paying more than a small nominal charge for insurance and therefore must be subsidised almost entirely by ICE drivers. I’m not betting against it.