Going green in COVID-19 – Is now the time to buy an electric car?
While it’s predicted that the car sales market will contract by 15% this year as a result of COVID-19, at the start of June it was reported that electric car sales had actually gained market share in Europe and this is likely to remain steady for the rest of the year. In fact, pure electric car sales are the only fuel type to see growth in new car sales this year. Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed that pure electric car sales made up 12% of new car registrations and combined with plug-in hybrids, this bumped the figure up to 16%.
At the end of May 2020, it was found that in the UK alone, there were more than 119,600 pure-electric cars on the roads and 301,000 plug-in models including plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).
This data also suggests that carmakers are closer to their target of meeting emissions reductions targets, meaning they will potentially avoid the fines worth billions of euros put into force by the European Union.
Keeping air pollution levels down
Throughout the lockdown, we have globally seen a positive shift in the levels of air pollution recorded, particularly in urban and heavily populated areas with pollution cut by between a third and half in many cities. This has got many people thinking about the impact they have on the environment and what they can do to continue these changes. Part of this is switching to an electric vehicle. In a survey completed by Venson, 45% of those asked agreed that this improvement has made them consider switching to an electric car in the near future. A further 17% said this had simply reaffirmed their decision to go electric.
Protecting urban residents’ health
As the COVID-19 crisis unfolded, it was found that those with long-term exposure to polluted air had much higher death rates from the infection. This was considered to be a result of the impact this has on a person’s respiratory and heart health. While there were no definitive conclusions drawn between how air quality can impact on someone’s ability to fight this infection, experts have highlighted the importance of drawing up air quality plans and speeding up our fight towards cleaner air.
Even putting COVID-19 aside, Defra found that air pollution attributed to around 5 million deaths a year and 9% of deaths globally. As one of the major sources of air pollution is fuel combustion from motor vehicles, we can expect to see health improve across the world as more and more people switch to electric vehicles.
Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) and Clear Air Zones (CAZ)
In 2019, the Government initiated a ULEZ in London, replacing the previous T-Charge. This incurs a daily fine of £12.50 for most vehicle types and £100 for lorries and buses over a certain weight. For electric or compliant hybrid vehicles however, these are exempt from ULEZ charges. For those needing to pass through these zones on a regular basis, going electric can look like a much more attractive proposition. Throughout COVID-19, the Government has put a hold on all clean air and low emission zones, but these plans look set to resume in 2021 and will initially be introduced in cities such as Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle and Manchester. It could be worth making the switch now to avoid these charges further down the line.
Another obvious benefit of moving onto an electric vehicle is the money you will save on fuel costs and road tax. Pure electric vehicles are not subject to road tax for the first year and all cars registered 1st March 2001 and 31st March 2017, with CO2 emissions less than 100 g/km are also exempt.
Thinking of going electric?
If you’re looking to switch to an electric vehicle this year, it’s worth taking the time to find the right car insurance. At the moment, many are finding that insuring electric cars can attract higher premiums but there are a number of options on the market that could bring the cost down based on a number of variables, including how often you drive and your driving history. While there’s plenty of options available online, it can be difficult to know what you’re getting so if you want to know what you’re truly insured for it’s worth getting specialist support. At Thornhill Insurance Brokers we have experience in sourcing relevant and competitive Electric Car Insurance and can help you to source a policy that’s right for you. To find out more, just get in touch on 01924 499182.