The insurer’s research calms worries about range anxiety that EV drivers, insurers and brokers have
Electric vehicles (EVs) are three times more likely to break down due to wheel or tyre issues rather than batteries losing their charge, according to the latest research from LV= Britannia Rescue.
Looking at breakdown call outs over the last three years, the breakdown provider’s research found that 37% of the time, drivers of EVs are reporting wheel or tyre problems versus just 11% who have run out of battery charge.
In comparison, only 16% of petrol or diesel car drivers reported wheel or tyre issues as the reason for breakdowns.
Henry Topham, LV= Britannia Rescue’s managing director, said: “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.
“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.”
Dead on key
In EVs, wheel or tyre problems are often attributed to excess weight in the car, caused by the battery - this can make the vehicle up to 50% heavier than a traditional petrol or diesel car.
This is further complicated by the fact that most manufacturers no longer fit a spare wheel as standard, meaning drivers that are caught mid-journey with a flat tyre or wheel issue cannot fix the problem themselves and need towing to a local garage.
Drivers being unable to start their EV, often at home, accounts for 21% of breakdown calls, according to LV= Britannia Rescue’s data.
This is known as “dead on key”. There are many 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. This issue is more prevalent in the winter months, with cars taking a bit longer to warm up. Around 41% of EV drivers cite this as the problem for breaking down.
In September last year, LV= Britannia Rescue launched a new service with AFF, the national roadside electric vehicle charging assistance company, to offer roadside charging for EVs that run out of charge.
AFF recharge vans can provide a 30-minute mobile charging facility on roads across England and Wales, including the hard shoulder and emergency refuge areas of motorways. This equates to an average 10 miles of battery power.
Winter and colder weather is traditionally a time when electric vehicles can run into tyre and battery problems. With that in mind, LV= has offered some tips to keep EVs in working order:
1. Check tyres regularly – When electric cars do break down, it’s often because of wheel or tyre problems. And because almost all EVs don’t have a spare wheel fitted as standard, it’s definitely worth checking tyre pressure and the condition and alignment of tyres on a regular basis, especially in the winter months. The car manufacturer’s manual will recommend the frequency of these checks.
2. Check the weather forecast – EVs 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 to understand when to potentially expect a bit less range. It’s worth keeping the battery level at around 80%.
3. Don’t spend too long warming up the car in cold weather – Use the pre-heat function to warm up the car. With most EVs, an app can be used to set the car to pre-heat and defrost the vehicle.