You may find it helpful to refer to our companion articles, "Insuring Electric Cars" and "Electric/Hybrid Headaches."
In our other articles on this subject, we briefly discussed considerations about the insurability and a comparison between electric and gas combustion engine vehicles. Additional developments are occurring which may affect the electronic vehicle market. Here are several examples:
Electronic Vehicles (EVs) are, as you may be aware, often powered by large, heavy and expensive lithium-ion batteries. They are popular because they re-charge, store and distribute power during vehicle operation more efficiently. A downside to such EV batteries is that they can catch fire for various reasons:
- A manufacturing flaw
- Exposure to water, such as being left in flooded areas
- Overcharging by owners/users
- Damage during accidents
EV vulnerability to fires is problematic and dangerous. Accidents that may be minor/routine with gas engine vehicles may not be the case with EVs. Significant damage to a battery may result in overheating and fires. Further complications are that these are chemical-based fires that burn intensely and may also result in explosions. The correct methods of fighting such fires have to be used since it would make zero sense to use water to extinguish them.
A definite insurance problem is that losses involving EVs may be more severe. Even if an EV does not catch fire, the battery may need to be replaced due to the danger of fire arising later.
Improper Sources of Battery Replacement
A rising issue is directly related to the cost of EV batteries. Batteries may lose efficiency due to use and aging. Owners have started purchasing less expensive batteries from sources other than the EV manufacturers. A problem is that they may be knockoffs or counterfeits. This exasperates the possibility of malfunction and, again, fires.
Lack of access to charging stations
Under "Insuring Electric Cars" we mention that getting access to public charging stations is a challenge. While the number of charging stations for public use is growing, the pace is slow and hampered as charger inputs and output plugs are not standardized. A recent and deplorable practice has emerged that makes things worse for EV owners. There is a trend of owners of combustion engine vehicles deliberately parking in spaces adjacent to public charging stations, making them difficult and often impossible to access by EV owners. Regarding home charging, there is the issue of standardization again, the expense of adding wiring and outlets to a home's electrical system, and the possibility that many EV owners don't have chargers available at their residences. There are reported incidents of EV owners jerry-rigging lines to access public power lines, which is obviously quite dangerous.
While access to insurance exists, there are aspects of EVs that may contribute to increasing premiums to cover a higher level of loss severity and repair costs. Hopefully, other current problems will smooth out as EVs' prevalence increases, they become more accepted by the public, and EV infrastructure improves.