What you need to know about electric vehicles

Buying or selling a car

18 January 2024

Be a bright spark when it comes to going electric. Here are the answers to your questions about driving, charging, and insuring electric vehicles.

What you need to know about driving an electric vehicle

Is it harder to drive an electric vehicle?

It might take you a while to get used to your new electric vehicle. While it’s not necessarily harder to drive an EV, it will be different to driving a petrol or diesel car.

Here are just a few of the things you might notice when you switch:

  • No more rumble when you start your engine.
  • Most EVs have a single-speed transmission, which means you won’t have to shift up and down the gearbox as you speed up and slow down.
  • Braking feels a bit different in an EV. Some will have a special braking mode, which helps recuperate energy when you’re slowing down.

Are electric cars safe in an accident?

Electric vehicles have to be built to the same safety standard as any other vehicles. You’d be just as safe having an accident in an EV as you would be in a petrol or diesel version of the same car.

There are extra safety features in EVs that help protect you (and your car) from harm if an accident does happen. For example, the battery is usually secured in a crash-resistant casing, tucked away from anywhere likely to be impacted in an accident.

What you need to know about electric vehicle insurance

Do I need special insurance to drive an electric vehicle?

Your electric vehicle will have different features and parts than a petrol or diesel car. So, it’s only right that your car insurance policy is tailored to cover them.

Electric vehicle insurance from AXA has additional cover for your electric battery and charging cable, as well as all the usual benefits which protect you from accidents and theft. Plus, you can choose to upgrade your cover with extra benefits, like optional breakdown insurance to get you to a charging station if your car runs out of charge.

Our plans also include cover for injury and damage caused by your charging cable. So, if someone trips over your cable and injures themself, or a faulty cable breaks something unexpectedly, you’re covered for third-party incidents.

Can I insure my electric vehicle with AXA?

AXA insure a wide range of electric and hybrid vehicles. Visit our page for more information about our electric vehicle insurance, or get a quote for your electric vehicle online, anytime.

What you need to know about bad weather and electric vehicles

Is it safe to drive an electric vehicle in the rain?

Yes. You shouldn’t drive through deep water, though. If water gets in and can’t drain out, you could end up with electrical issues.

As with any vehicle, it’s never safe to drive through water where you can’t see how deep it is. You never know whether there’s a pothole or some debris beneath the water which could cause some serious damage.

Are electric vehicles affected by the cold?

Many electric vehicles handle snow better than their petrol or diesel counterparts. EV batteries are heavy, and this extra weight helps with more traction on the snow.

Your EV battery won’t work as efficiently in the cold though. You might find your range is affected as temperatures plummet, and your car will take longer to charge in the cold, too.

As with all vehicles, you’ll need to take extra care when driving in extreme weather conditions.

Do electric vehicles work during heatwaves?

Like with extreme cold temperatures, your EV battery won’t work as efficiently when it's turning tropical – but you’ll still be able to get from A to B. As well as a reduced range, you can expect your car to take longer to charge in extreme heat.

In general, you won’t need to worry about your electric car overheating in the sun, but prolonged exposure to extreme heat could affect the overall health of your EV’s battery. Try to keep your EV parked in the shade on hotter days, when possible.

What you need to know about charging an electric vehicle

How much will it cost to charge my electric vehicle?

The price of charging your EV will vary depending on the size of your battery, where you choose to charge your EV, and what time you charge your EV.

In general, charging your EV overnight at home, will cost you less than charging in public during peak hours. To work out how much it’ll cost to charge your EV at home, you’ll need to multiply the price you pay for electricity (pence per kilowatt hour) by the size of your battery. 

Can I charge my electric vehicle in the rain?

Yes, you can charge your electric vehicle in the rain. EV chargers are designed to stop water from getting in, so you can charge with confidence – even in the rain. Electricity won’t flow through the charging cable into the car until the car’s onboard system has confirmed there’s no water anywhere it shouldn’t be.

What else do you need to know about electric vehicles?

Do I need to service my electric vehicle?

Electric vehicles should be serviced at regular intervals – just like traditional petrol and diesel cars.

Do I have to switch to an electric vehicle?

While you don’t have to switch to electric now, you’ll probably want to consider it over the next decade. The UK government are planning to ban the sale of petrol and diesel engine cars by 2035. While that’s still a while away, the government are encouraging car manufacturers to sell more electric vehicles. They’ve said by 2030, 80% of vehicles being sold in the UK should be electric.

Are electric vehicles better for the environment?

Since EVs don’t emit nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, or carbon dioxide, driving one on a daily basis is going to have significantly less impact on the environment than a conventional ‘gas guzzler’. But while EVs don’t contribute towards pollution when you’re driving them, there is a question about the sustainability of manufacturing EV batteries.

Right now, batteries in electric vehicles tend to contain cobalt. Mining and refining cobalt comes at an environmental cost and has been linked to health issues to the people who process it. But conditions are improving. In 2020, the World Economic Forum produced a report with ideas on how to make cobalt production fair and safer.

Electric vehicle manufacturers are also investing in research and technology. They’re looking into improving battery technology – for sustainability and performance - and alternatives to cobalt are already being used in some instances.

Already own an electric vehicle?

Getting comprehensive car insurance for your Electric Vehicle is easy. Check out electric car insurance from AXA for 5-star cover for your ride. You can get a quote online in just a few clicks, too.