Electric and hybrid vehicles are growing in popularity all around the world, both for their reduced carbon emissions and lower running costs when compared to petrol and diesel cars. The UK is one of Europe’s largest markets for electric vehicle sales.
As of June 2020, there are over 300,000 electric cars registered for use on the road in the UK, making up 7.2% of all new cars sold. This includes any vehicle able to run on electricity alone for a reasonable range, which includes electric vehicles (EV), hybrid-electric vehicles (HEV) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV).
With the growth of the zero-emission automotive industry predicted to reach 20% of all vehicle sales by 2026, car owners and those looking to buy a new electric or hybrid vehicle must be made aware of how to keep your new car safe.
What is an electric car?
Electric cars are fitted with a battery pack, connected to an electric motor, which can be recharged via the mains supply at suitable charging points. One of the key concerns for owning a fully electric car is the need to charge after a certain range. Different electric vehicles can tackle different ranges, so it is worth considering several different electric vehicles based on your travel needs before settling.
Hybrid electric cars combine an internal battery with another fuel source, such as petrol. Hybrids can generally be split into two categories: plug-in hybrid and self-charging hybrid.
A plug-in hybrid can travel for distances on electricity only and then can switch to its petrol reserves if needed. To recharge a plug-in hybrid you would need to recharge it via a charging station. A self-charging hybrid, coined by manufacturers such as Toyota and Lexus, can charge their own batteries without the need for a charging station.
Electric cars are quickly becoming the benchmark for hi-tech, sustainable vehicles throughout the world, with luxury brands like Tesla leading the way forward. Especially with the petrol and diesel engine ban coming into play in 2035.
Do hybrids and electric vehicles have higher car insurance premiums?
Both electric vehicles and hybrid cars are unfortunately a common target for car theft because their market value is high and they benefit from quiet engines, which makes them easier to steal without arousing suspicion.
The rise in keyless car theft, or ‘relay attack’ as it’s also known, means that electric and hybrid vehicles, and other vehicles that use keyless car entry, are able to be lifted within a matter of minutes. Because of this, insurance companies are predicting theft rates of electric and hybrid vehicles to rise as they become more mainstream, contributing to the factors that could increase electric car insurance premiums on these vehicles.
However, all is not lost. Though electric vehicles may have higher insurance premiums as standard, having certain Thatcham-approved vehicle security could help to lower the cost of your policy. Vehicle security like:
- A Thatcham-approved cat S5 or cat S7 vehicle tracker
- Thatcham-approved immobiliser
- Thatcham-approved alarm
- Thatcham-approved wheel locks
Consumers looking for a low insurance hybrid car should look at models with a proven track record, such as the Toyota Yaris 1.5 Hybrid Active. To learn more about the pros and cons of a hybrid vehicle, click here.
Vehicle Trackers for Electric Vehicles (EV, HEV, PHEV)
A car tracker monitors the coordinates of your vehicle via satellite, in order to recover your vehicle in the event of theft. A car tracker can be installed on any vehicle, including electric and hybrid cars, petrol and diesel cars, motorbikes, and even non-powered assets like caravans.
Most car trackers use GPS tracking technology to track vehicles, however, the superior tracking technology is VHF. VHF vehicle tracking technology is able to track vehicles even if they are underground, in a garage, or in a container, meaning your vehicle can be much more closely monitored at all times. GPS technology can be easily jammed by criminals so choosing a tracker with anti-jamming technology is paramount to finding the best tracker for you.
Tracker’s vehicle recovery systems are the only vehicle trackers in the UK with a licence to use VHF technology. TrackerTM systems are installed in a different place every time and have anti-jamming technology as standard. A Tracker system is highly camouflaged and the owner would receive security alerts should the tracker be tampered with.
Can a car tracker drain my battery?
A few details about car trackers for electric cars have caused some confusion in the marketplace. Some consumers are concerned that car trackers drain their car batteries, which would be a particular concern for electric car owners. However, this worry is unfounded. A car tracker actually uses very little energy and so is highly unlikely to affect your car battery.
In the case of electric vehicles, a car is either charged routinely (eg overnight) or charges as it drives. So if anyone looking to buy a new electric car is worried about the impact of a tracker on their car battery, this is not likely to ever be a problem.
The benefits of a tracker for an electric vehicle
Car trackers carry a number of benefits both as a security measure and an investment.
A car tracker can help to prevent keyless car theft
A number of crimes, including relay attacks and catalytic converter theft. In the event of a theft, owners are notified if their car leaves a pre-set security perimeter (Geofence alerts).
Tracker™ has a unique relationship with all UK Police forces, with Tracker recovery systems in over 2000 police cars, 20 police helicopters and most major UK ports. This relationship means faster recovery times than any other UK vehicle tracker with a higher chance of recovering your vehicle before criminals have had time to damage it.
A car tracker can reduce electric car insurance premiums
Having a Thatcham approved cat s5 or s7 car tracker installed can reduce insurance premiums and open up more insurance options from providers who won't insure untracked EVs.
Car trackers can protect your vehicle’s health
Vehicle Health Alerts can warn owners of technical faults and concerns, potentially reducing garage fees and unexpected breakdowns.
Tracker™ products are all compatible with Tracker Touch, a mobile app which connects to your car tracker and alerts your phone if your car is suffering from low battery or health issues.
Car trackers can reduce the cost of car theft
If your car is stolen and you don’t have a tracker, the police have no way of tracking that vehicle and must wait for either a license plate alert or tip from the public. With a vehicle tracker and recovery system from Tracker, you have a much higher chance of getting your vehicle back without damage or tampering in record time, negating the need for insurers to get involved and saving you a costly insurance excess.
Security tips for hybrid and electric cars
Practising good security habits is crucial when you're driving an electric or hybrid vehicle. On top of installing your car with a tracker, it's important to take other measures to minimise your risk of becoming a victim of car theft. Hybrid and EV owners should always seek to:
- Park in a safe spot where possible, and ideally in a garage overnight
- Always double-check that doors are locked and windows are closed
- Turn off electrical charging ports when they are not in use
- Keep your vehicle tidy and valuables out of sight
- Contact an auto locksmith immediately if you lose your keys
- Install a steering wheel lock
- Keep your fey fob inside a faraday bag to prevent a relay attack
Remember, the best way to reduce the risk of your car being stolen is to deter thieves in the first place. Making your car an obviously difficult and risky target by taking out extra security measures is the best way to keep thieves away.