Rise of luxury electric vehicles (EVs)
2020 was a turbulent year for many sectors, including the car industry. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic saw a 31% year-on-year decline in sales, with UK-based car manufacturers producing only 56,000 units, the lowest output since 1954.1
Despite still recovering from the impact of the pandemic, the industry is seeing some positive signs of growth, with car sales, over the first eight months of the year, up by about 20% compared to 2020.2 One of the big areas of growth, is the electric vehicle (EV) market, which in the face of a global pandemic saw the biggest annual increase in the number of registrations in 2020, and a growth of 66% on 2019.3
At the end of May 2021, there were nearly 300,000 pure-electric cars on UK roads3, with sales of plug-in hybrid, and electric accounting for 15% of all new car sales (year to date).4 The Tesla Model 3, also topped the charts for new car sales in June.6 Demonstrating the increased demand for EVs and also the decline for traditionally powered vehicles, with only 12.4% of new car registrations in August diesel powered.4
Contributing factors of a drop in total miles driven, due to lockdowns and the flexibility to work from home, combined with an increasing range of EVs from various manufacturers, government support and a growing charging point infrastructure has created a customer-friendly sweet spot.5
There is also a growing market for premium-branded EVs, capitalising on the segment carved out by Tesla. Large, established, luxury automotive manufacturers and newer premium specialists are also competing to be at the forefront of this emerging market.7
Our resident car enthusiast, Thomas Readman, remarked on the growth of EVs:
“Tesla has done an amazing job in proving the viability of EVs and has forced the hands of the wider car market to invest in EV technology, which has been accelerated due to the pandemic. The result is a wider range of vehicles and rapid development of the technology involved. As infrastructure improves, we will see a continued shift to electric across all types of vehicle, with companies such as Everati leading the way on electrifying classic cars, who knows how far it will go. I personally expect there to be a generation of drivers who will cling onto the feel and feedback associated with the Internal Combustion Engine, that will see a number of manufacturers continuing to produce light hybrid vehicles relying on cleaner fuels for some time to come.”
What are the benefits of EVs?
If you’ve decided to make the move away from traditional vehicles and switch to EVs, you may already know what the benefits of owning and running an electric vehicle are, but for those still undecided we’ve rounded up some points to consider:
- Environmental impact – Emission-free driving, helping to protect the planet.
- Buying incentives – Discount on the price of new low-emissions vehicles through a government grant (only applies to cars less than £35,000).8 Electric car owners can also benefit from the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS), which provides grant funding of up to 75% towards the cost of installing electric vehicle charge points at home.9
- Lower running costs – An electric car can cost around 2-3p per mile to run, compared to the average 16p per mile for petrol and diesel vehicles.10 Also with fewer moving parts, servicing and maintenance is much simpler and can offer another cost-saving.
- No road tax – Electric vehicles are exempt from vehicle excise duty.
- Free parking – Some councils offer free and priority parking for electric cars.
- Discounts on congestion charges - EV drivers are exempt from charges in cities with clean air zones, and can travel in London’s congestion zone and ultra-low emission zone for free.
However, like anything, there are also some downsides to owning an EV and factors that are limiting mass adoption. Availability of charging points, charging time and battery range, are some of the key concerns with transitioning from traditional fuelled vehicles to EVs. However, the Government is trying to tackle the concern of charge point infrastructure, and since 2015, the number of public charging devices has on average grown by 43% every year.10 Manufacturers are also working hard on developing new technology and batteries that remove the range anxiety associated with EVs, with significant steps being made to make charging electric cars as quick as filling up at a petrol station.12
Luxury EVs to know about
Whilst Tesla started the prestige electric car revolution nearly a decade ago, almost every major brand and luxury car specialist have now committed to making electric cars, whilst still keeping their prestige appeal whether it’s the styling, interiors, performance or a combination of all three.
We’ve taken a look and rounded up some of the most coveted, prestige electric cars of 2021, from start-up EV hypercars to established premium brands with new EV lines:
- Rimac C_Two – With a 258mph top speed backed up with a 341-mile range this definitely enters the supercar territory.13 You may not have heard of the Croatian EV start-up, but since joining forces with Bugatti it’s likely you’ll be hearing more of Rimac.
- Lotus Evija – The first all-British electric hypercar, with claims to be the most powerful production car in existence, this will be one to watch when it finally hits the road at the end of the year.14
- Pininfarina Battista – Having designed some of the most beautiful cars ever made, this Italian design powerhouse15 have used their creativity to develop their first electric hyper-car.
- Drako GTE – Conceived by two California-based entrepreneurs, EV start-up Drako Motors makes it’s foray into the luxury supercar market with the four-seat Drako GTE.16
- Aspark Owl – Another first hypercar, but this time from Japan. First unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2017, this limited edition all-electric supercar is now available – if you can get your hands on one!17
If you’re looking for something a little more practical, take a look at the EV offering from some of the more recognised premium car brands:
- Audi e-tron GT – The first fully electric sports car from Audi, the e-tron GT will sit amongst Audi’s dedicated battery-powered line.
- BMW iX3 –The i brand is now spreading amongst BMW’s wider model range and the iX3 is the first of its new-wave EVs to hit the roads.18
- Jaguar I-Pace – The first fully electric car from Jaguar, targeting those looking for a premium, electric family car that handles well, showcases quality interiors and a striking design.19
- Tesla Model S Plaid – Starting the revolution for modern, electric cars nearly a decade ago, the Model S has had an upgrade, and claims to be “the quickest production car ever”.20
- Porsche Taycan – The brand’s first fully electric car, delivering the quality and sharp handling you would expect with a Porsche sports car.21
Do I need electric car insurance?
Like with any other car, insurance is legally required on UK roads. Whilst it’s not necessary to have specialist electric car insurance, as most standard providers will be able to provide cover for your EV, some may offer additional cover features. These can include:
- Cover for charging cables against damage, theft and even liability if yours causes an accident, for example if someone trips over it.
- Cover for your battery against damage, fire or theft – which should be considered if your battery is leased.
- Recovery to the nearest charge point, or roadside charging assistance in the event you run out of charge.
When insuring your EV, speak to your provider and establish what is important to you and what you need covered. At Marsh Private Clients, our dedicated experts can help find the prestige car insurance solutions you need, whether it’s for a traditional, classic car or a premium electric vehicle. To find out more about the insurance solutions we could provide for your electric car or family fleet call our team on 0333 305 3743.
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