AA: EV out-of-charge breakdowns drops to just 1.8%

There has been more than a 70% drop in the proportion of electric vehicles running out of charge over the last few years, according to the AA.

The motoring group said the number of ‘out of charge’ EV breakdowns was running at 8% of all EV breakdowns four years ago – but dropped to 4% last year and 2.1% currently.

EVs out of charge were less than 2% for the first time in May, at 1.8% or just 135 breakdowns. 

According to Edmund King, who spoke today at the EV Infrastructure Summit in London, said the reduction was due to longer ranges, a more reliable public charging network which was still growing, and better informed drivers.

The AA also said it believes the infrastructure boost helps with the increasing consumer demand and the greater availability of electric models. At the end of April 2023, there were over 760,000 fully electric cars on UK roads and a further 490,000 plug-in hybrids.

King also gave more details on breakdowns and the fact that the AA fixes more than eight out of ten EVs at the roadside, which is similar to ICE vehicles fix-rates. In many ‘out of charge’ cases the vehicle is not actually out of charge, but the AA has been called out as the EV is low on charge.

Running out of petrol or diesel is also around consistently 1% of the AA’s workload, meaning EVs out of charge has parity with ICE vehicles.

The top one third of breakdowns for EVs are the same faults as with petrol or diesel cars – 12v battery problems and tyres, it said.

Edmund King said: “Our data on ‘out of charge’ EVs clearly shows ‘charging anxiety’ does not match the reality. The 70% drop in out of charge breakdowns is a clear sign that range, infrastructure, and education are improving.

“There has never been a better time to buy a used EV as many prices have dropped dramatically in the last six months. Once the car has been purchased the running and servicing costs tend to be much lower.

“The economic and environmental benefits of running an EV are clear but it appears that some drivers are put off by ‘charging anxiety’ which does not reflect the reality for most drivers or indeed the AA.”

Melanie Shufflebotham, COO of Zapmap, said: “The dramatic fall in the number of EV breakdowns caused by running out of charge is clear evidence that ‘charging anxiety’ should no longer be a key concern for drivers. 

“At the end of May this year there were 43,626 charging points across the UK, across 25,413 charging locations, representing a massive 38% increase since May 2022. 

“There’s no doubt that the infrastructure is improving all the time, and hopefully this welcome report will encourage even more drivers to make the switch to cleaner and greener transport.” 

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