Electric car myths busted – Things you’ve been getting wrong about EVs

Motorists are making a number of mistakes about electric cars (Image: GETTY)

Electric cars are growing in popularity but still occupy just a small proportion of the market on the roads in Britain. While the number of electric cars registered over the next few years is set to balloon, there is still some reticence from diesel and petrol owners. There are a number of myths about an electric car which is still preventing drivers from making the switch. More than a quarter (27 per cent) of drivers are considering switching to an electric car within the next five years, rising to two fifths (38 per cent) among those aged 18-34 years old. A fifth of drivers stated that they will never consider repurchasing one, according to the LV= General Insurance research.

The concerns from these drivers are worrying that the battery will run out of charge (51 per cent), that they’re too expensive (48 per cent) and the running costs are too high (25 per cent) and thinking they can’t be used for long distance journeys (45 per cent).

Martin Milliner, Claims Director at LV= General Insurance said: “There are over 200,000 plug-in electric cars on UK roads7, but our research proves there is still a huge amount of confusion about what owning one actually means.

“Moving to an electric car will mean a change of habit for drivers, but there are several benefits to making the switch, including lower fuel costs and reducing our impact on the environment. 

“The myths surrounding electric cars will ultimately impact a driver’s decision to purchase one. Tackling air pollution and emissions are key issues on the Government’s agenda and eventually, as new diesel and petrol vehicles are banned in the UK from 2040, industry wide we need to tackle these misconceptions and help people embrace the move to electric.

“It’s important for drivers to remember that electric cars have very specific needs. Our new insurance addresses this and drivers can be confident of making the change to these cars of the future, knowing they have the right cover to protect them.”

1. Electric cars aren’t as powerful

More than half (55 per cent) of those surveyed believed that electric cars aren’t as powerful petrol or diesel, which isn’t true. Electric cars can generate power and accelerate more quickly than internal combustion engine (ICE) cars because they can use instant torque, due to the fact they have no gears. Electric cars don’t tend to have as high a top speed as petrol and diesel but can sprint more quickly, evidenced by cars such as the Tesla Model S Performance.

2. You can’t drive an electric car on a motorway

Shockingly, 12 per cent of drivers are convinced you cannot drive an electric car on the motorway, which of course is false. Electric cars can be driven on any roads petrol and diesel can. Ecotricity has 145 public stations at motorway and A-road services around the UK, providing around 300 individual chargers. 

There is a growing number of electric car chargers available (Image: GETTY)

3. You can’t wash an electric car in a car wash

Almost one fifth (18 per cent) of drivers believe that you cannot take an electric car in a car wash. Famously electric and water don’t mix but electric cars are extensively tested to ensure they are safe to go through a car wash – as safe as petrol and diesel cars.

4. Electric cars shouldn’t be used during heavy rain

One in ten (12 per cent) believe EVs can’t be driven in the rain. However, they have all been extensively tested by their 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.

5. Electric car battery’s need to be replaced every five years

Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of drivers believe that battery packs need to be replaced every five years. Currently, predictions estimate that battery packs will need to be replaced in 10-20 years. Most manufacturers offer drivers warranties which should avoid them being out of pocket.

6. Electric cars are dangerous

Six per cent wouldn’t buy an electric car due to the risk of electrocution due to the lithium-ion battery packs. If punctured li-ion batteries can catch on fire but manufacturers have fitted devices to disconnect the battery if there is a collision. The bottom of electric cars have been reinforced to ensure that they don’t puncture on the road.

7. Electric cars can’t be used for long journeys

Nearly half (45 per cent) of those who wouldn’t buy an electric car are deterred from purchasing one because they can’t be used for long journeys. However, most electric cars are currently capable of about 100 miles of driving before they need to be recharged, while some of the latest models are closer to 200 miles or more – which is approximately the drive from London to Manchester.

8. Electric cars are more expensive to run

One in four (25 per cent) wouldn’t buy an electric car because the running costs are too high, and although drivers are able to accurately describe the average running cost per 100 miles of a petrol or diesel car, drivers overestimate the average running cost of an electric car by at least 100 per cent.

According to the Energy Savings Trust, on a full charge, an electric car can run for 100 miles at a cost of £4 to £6, compared to 100 miles in a petrol or diesel car costing £13 to £16. Electric cars are also exempt from road tax and London’s Congestion Charge, although you need to claim the discount.

Some drivers believe that you can’t use an electric car in a car wash (Image: GETTY)

9. There are no incentives on offer for buying an electric car

Drivers can cash in on the maximum £3,500 plug-in grant to help them buy an electric car, but two-fifths of motorists believe there aren’t incentives to buy them.

10. Petrol and diesel cars won’t be banned anytime soon

Seven in 10 (70 per cent) appear to be unaware that petrol cars are to be banned by 2040, with 15 per cent believing electric cars will never entirely replace petrol or diesel cars. Yet, all new cars in the UK will be “effectively zero emission” by 2040 in a plan to tackle air pollution. Although the Government is under pressure to bring forward this deadline and ban all sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2032.

Recently, the insurance firm launched the market’s first car insurance product developed solely for electric cars.