Electric vehicles are twice as likely to suffer a wheel or tyre problem due to their heavier weight than conventional petrol and diesel cars, according to a new report.
More than a third of breakdown assistance callouts made by EV owners are due to punctures, tyre damage or wheel issues, according to Liverpool Victoria’s vehicle recovery division, Britannia Rescue.
It says the higher probability of wheel and tyre problems with battery models is ‘often attributed to the excess weight of the car’.
LV+ Britannia Rescue claims electric vehicle owners are more than three times as likely to breakdown due to a wheel or tyre problem than running out of battery
The report suggests motorists concerned about switching to zero-emission cars due to range anxiety should not be so worried about running out of battery.
It says the number of call from electric car owners who have broken down due to their plug-in vehicles running out of charge is less likely than many assume, accounting for only 11 per cent of requests from EV drivers.
In fact, those who have already made the transition to EV ownership are three times more likely to have to call for emergency help due to a wheel or tyre issue causing them to stop on the road.
Using data collected between 2018 and 2021, LV= Britannia Rescue says 36 per cent of EV callouts are for wheel and tyre problems.
That’s more than double that percentage for petrol and diesel cars for the same problem, which accounted for 16 per cent of all breakdowns during the three-year period.
‘Wheel or tyre problems are often attributed to the excess weight of the car, caused by the battery, which can make it up to 50 per cent heavier than a traditional petrol or diesel car,’ the breakdown assistance provider says.
‘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.’
The report says that wheel and tyre problems encountered by EV drivers is likely attributed to the additional weight of the batteries in the car
Tyre manufacturers are already adjusting to EVs and their heavier weight by producing rubber specific for these cars.
Continental, for example, introduced a new HL – heavy load – rating for tyres to be used on electric cars.
It also develops these tyres to be quieter than conventional products for petrol and diesel cars due to the near-silent nature of EVs and also designs them to have minimal rolling resistance to make them more energy efficient and less range sapping.
Electric cars 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…
Henry Topham, LV= Britannia Rescue
Delving deeper into LV= Britannia Rescue’s explanations for why EV owners call for breakdown recovery support shows that drivers being unable to start their electric car, often at home, accounts for 21 per cent 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 little more than half as often it does for petrol or diesel cars, which features as the breakdown reason in 41 per cent of calls to LV= Britannia Rescue.
Henry Topham, managing director of LV= Britannia Rescue, said: ‘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.
‘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.’
The report comes after the AA earlier this year attempted to quash concerns about EVs running out of battery en route.
In 2020, the motoring group says it attended around 13,000 electric vehicle breakdowns in total, with fewer than 4 per cent due to vehicles running out of charge – a figure that has halved in the last few years, due to latest models having extended ranges and public charging infrastructure growing, though not as quickly as some would like.
In September 2020, LV= Britannia Rescue launched a national roadside electric vehicle charging assistance company, offering roadside charging for electric vehicles that run out of charge.
AFF recharge vans can provide a 30-minute mobile charging facility (average 10 miles of battery) on roads across England and Wales, including the hard shoulder and emergency refuge areas of motorways, providing roadside support for electric car drivers who are unable to make it to their destination or encounter issues with charge points.
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