Potential new electric car owners can sometimes be put off from making the switch because of concerns over running out of charge. However, new research from LV= Britannia Rescue, a UK provider of breakdown cover, shows that electric vehicles (EV) are more likely to break down because of wheel or tyre problems, rather than anything to do with the battery.
Analysis of breakdown call outs over the last three years shows that 37% of the time drivers call because they’ve suffered wheel or tyre problems, compared to just 11% for running out of charge.
Wheel or tyre problems are sometimes attributed to the heavier weight of an EV, which can be up to 50% heavier than a fossil fuel car. Wheel issues are sometimes made more complicated by the fact that most manufacturers no longer fit a spare wheel as standard, so drivers caught mid-journey with a flat tyre or wheel issue can’t fix the problem themselves and need towing to a local garage.
“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,” said Henry Topham, Managing Director of LV= Britannia Rescue.
“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. And 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.”
Drivers being unable to start their electric car, often at home, accounts for 21% of calls – otherwise known as ‘dead on key’. There are a variety of 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, but it is more prevalent in the winter months with cars taking that bit longer to warm up.
The ‘dead on key’ issue for electric car drivers happens around half as often it does for fossil fuel cars, which features as the breakdown reason in 41% of calls to LV= Britannia Rescue.
Winter, or a spate of colder weather, is a time when EVs can run into tyre and battery problems. With that in mind, here are some tips to keep your vehicle in working order:
Check your tyres regularly
When electric cars do break down, it’s more often because of wheel or tyre problems. So it’s definitely worth checking your tyre pressure and the condition and alignment of your tyres on a regular basis, especially in winter months. If you’re not sure how frequently to do it, refer to your manufacturer’s manual, as some recommend more frequent checks.
Check the weather forecast
Electric cars 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 so you know when to expect a little less range, which can dip, particularly in winter months. It’s worth keeping your battery level at around 80%, to keep its health in good condition.
Don’t spend too long warming up the car in cold weather
Use the pre-heat function to warm up your car. With most electric cars you can use an app to set the car to pre-heat and defrost the vehicle. This avoids the need to get the ice scraper out, and means the car is warm when you’re ready to set off.
A number of companies now offer EV-specific roadside assistance, such as the RAC, which is helping make the switch to zero-emission electric vehicles as easy as possible for drivers, with EV roadside assistance in the form of its EV Boost lightweight mobile charging units. LV= Britannia Rescue has also launched a new service with AFF, the national roadside electric vehicle charging assistance company, offering roadside charging for electric vehicles that do 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.