October 28, 2021

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‘Range anxiety’ makes electric car drivers less likely to be involved in road accidents

Chris Chandler, the principal consultant at Lex, told The Sunday Times: “If you look at the reduction in accidents from internal combustion engine, through hybrid to electric, almost the cleaner the car, the lower the incident rate.

“There’s a high probability that it’s driver behaviour that is reducing those rates.”

The shift to electric vehicles by 2030, with hybrids banned by 2035, is a key part of the Government’s green push as Boris Johnson prepares to host the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow in November.

Affordability and convenience remain stumbling blocks to take-up, prompting ministers to announce that electric car charging points are to be installed at every new home and office under legislation to be brought forward this year.

More growth needed to reach target

The number of fully electric cars on the roads more than doubled to 224,000 in March from 108,000 in March 2020, but forecasts say the electric vehicle market will need to grow seven-fold over the next five years to hit the 2030 target.

AA figures showed in August that breakdowns due to running out of charge have more than halved in the past five years, with just 3.71 per cent of electric car breakdowns attended by patrols so far this year blamed on charge outages.

However, a poll of 14,000 drivers by the motoring organisation found that 51 per cent were worried about running out of charge on a motorway.

In the year to June 2020, around 24,470 people were killed or seriously injured in road traffic accidents reported to the police, though this was an 11 per cent drop on the previous year.

Edmund King, the AA president, said for electric cars: “The obsession with range when behind the wheel does also influence drivers to slow down, keep constant speeds and avoid sharp braking or harsh acceleration”.

He added: “Often EV drivers play the ‘range game’ to see how many extra miles they can squeeze out of the battery. It is a badge of honour.”
 

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