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EV sales being harmed by inflated insurance premiums, Honest John finds

A Chargemaster EV charge point

Honest John has called upon the government to abolish insurance premium tax from electric vehicles (EVs) after research highlighted how inflated premiums could be harming sales.

The automotive consumer website found that potential EV customers could be being put-off the purchase of some of the most eco-friendly vehicles on the roads as a result of insurance premiums that are up to 60% more expensive to insure than their petrol equivalents on average.

Honest John’s call for legislation changes follows publication of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders new car registrations data, spanning a period from January to June 2018, which showed that pure electric car registrations had declined by more than 3% (to 7,441) compared to the first half of 2017.

This came despite an overall rise in AFV registrations of 24% during the period, thanks to a growth in popularity of hybrids and plug-in hybrid cars.

HonestJohn.co.uk managing editor, Dan Powell, said: “If the government is serious about getting more people into genuine zero-emission electric vehicles, rather than plug-in hybrids, then there needs to be decisive action.”

He added: “The government itself holds the key. At present, it takes 12% off every motor insurance premium in IPT. If it removed IPT from pure electric vehicles, then premiums would instantly drop and this would improve the incentive for buyers to swap their diesel or petrol for pure electric.”

High list prices, range anxiety and limited access to charging points have attracted the bulk of the blame for sluggish EV adoption, but limited vehicle supply has also been highlighted in recent months.

Chargemaster director of communications and strategy told this year’s AM Digitech conference that the only obstacle to an explosion in EV sales was supply, insisting that “There is no demand constraint at all”.

Chargemaster estimates that the number of EVs on UK roads will reach a million by the end of 2022 – still just 3% of cars – and to around one-in-six vehicles by 2027.

However, now the issue of highly charged insurance premiums is also attracting attention as a potential hurdle for EV adopters to overcome.

Honest John found that young professionals are the hardest hit by punishing EV premiums, with some insurers demanding more than £1,800 for 12 months’ cover.

Comparing like-for-like petrol and EV cars, it found that a Volkswagen e-Golf would cost more than a high-performance Golf GTI (£388 vs £387) and a Nissan Leaf would cost 31% more than the equivalent Micra hatchback (£268 vs £251).

A spokesperson for the Association of British Insurers told Honest John: “While on the one hand electric vehicles tend to be smaller and less powerful, they also need specialist parts and skills to repair so may cost more to insure in some cases.

“But drivers can expect pressure on insurance premiums to reduce as the technology becomes more widespread”

Powell said “Until people actually live with electric cars, there’s a perception that owning one comes with a compromise.

“Many of these compromises have already been addressed – EVs have a good range, are quickly and easily charged and are getting cheaper to buy, but the government and insurance industries are doing the future of electromobility no favours at all, and this is something that requires immediate change.”

 

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