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Electric vehicles - understanding the risks

By Lindsay Heap

As the issue of climate change moves up the agenda for government and the cost of fuel pressures consumer purse strings, savvier motorists are considering turning electric.It’s timely to consider the insurance implications and what can be done to mitigate the risks...

Fire risk
Vehicle charge points increase the risk of electrical fire so location is crucial to mitigating this risk.  Points should be kept clear of waste and flammables should be stored well away from the locality. Battery charging should only occur within a designated ‘No Smoking’ area.

Garages should not leave vehicles charging when the premises are unoccupied and fire detection and suppression systems need to be reviewed to take into account the increased risk profile.

Road safety
Research suggests electric vehicles are twice as likely to be involved in a pedestrian collision than a traditional vehicle because they are very quiet and can only be heard for less than a second before impact.

So what can be done to reduce this risk?  Drivers should receive specific training to ensure they are more vigilant when driving. Vehicles can now be fitted with acoustic alerting systems to make them more audible. Driving schools should also tailor training for electric vehicles, as well as providing guidance on general driving safety.

Employers’ Liability
From an Employers’ Liability perspective, it is critical that all staff receive full training on the servicing of these vehicles. Even experienced mechanics may not have received specific training. Employees should sign training records to confirm that they have understood the new procedures. 

Concluding thoughts 
As with any new technology, businesses which embrace electric vehicles need to be aware of the risks and implement the appropriate policies and procedures to reduce the likelihood of an accident and/or rejected claim.

Lindsay Heap , Casualty Underwriter

Graham Evans, Practice Leader - Risk Solutions