- It might cost you more to insure an electric car in South Africa when compared to a similarly priced gasoline vehicle.
- If you're under 30, expect to pay around R2 726 per month to insure a new Mini Cooper SE.
- Want something fancier? A Jaguar I-Pace could set you back around R4 995 per month for insurance.
- For motoring news, go to Wheels24
Carmakers are rolling out electric vehicles (EVs) thick and fast. We recently had a go in the Audi e-tron line-up, and we've put the Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge through its paces. We've also tested the Porsche Taycan on several occasions, and we had a go in SA's cheapest electric car, the Mini Cooper SE. These cars, say what you will about range anxiety and charging times, are the ideal alternative right now if you'd like to avoid filling up with petrol or diesel.
Electric vehicles are rising in popularity, and we regularly receive feedback from readers who say they would love to switch EVs right now. Price, however, puts these cars out of reach for most of us.
Nevertheless, you might be in the fortunate position to make the switch from a gas-guzzler to something electrified this year. Price aside, we started to think about what these vehicles cost to insure. Some manufacturers are throwing a few years of 'free' comprehensive insurance when you buy one of their electric cars, but here's what it's going to cost you on average to insure an EV in South Africa:
Insurance industry insider shares further insights on EV cover
One of the co-founders of Naked Insurance, Ernest North, says they've experienced an increase in insurance quotes and policies sold on electric cars. He explains that they take a cluster of variables into account when pricing a car's insurance premium. These include owner/driver age, where you live, the cost of your vehicle and the typical costs of parts and repairs for the make and model you own.
"In some cases, insuring an electric car can be more expensive than insuring an ICE [internal combustion engine] car of the same value because the costs of spares and parts are higher. However, there may also be cases where premiums will be lower if the data shows that drivers of a particular electric vehicle model have fewer accidents because of vehicle safety features or because they are more careful drivers," he expounds.
Rising interest in electric vehicles in South Africa
With annual sales in the dozens of units, electric vehicles accounted for just 0.046% of the new cars sold in South Africa in 2021. However, with soaring fuel prices and growing awareness of the environmental impact of fossil fuels, more and more motorists are considering the switch from internal combustion engine (ICE) cars to electric vehicles.
For example, AutoTrader's annual car industry report shows that South Africans conducted more than 540 000 searches for electric vehicles on its platform in 2021, up 110% from the previous year. As they weigh up their options, one of the questions prospective electric vehicle owners ask is how the insurance costs compare.
The insurance premiums in the graphic for this piece reflect the risk profile of a typical 28- and 48-year old driver, but you can obtain actual quotations on the Naked website or mobile app. North says that each car buyer needs to look at total vehicle ownership costs when deciding whether to go the electric car route.
"Electric cars have fewer moving parts that need to be replaced than traditional cars, so many models may be cheaper to maintain than a luxury vehicle of the same cost. And, if you have solar panels for your car charger at your home, you can reduce the running costs of powering your car to next to nothing compared to the eye-watering costs of petrol.
We're just at the start of the electric vehicle revolution, and people who get on board now will be paying an early adopter tax," North notes.
"But we can expect to see their running costs compared to ICE cars fall rapidly, especially if the government reviews the import tariffs on electric vehicles or starts to impose stiffer carbon taxes on traditional cars. Within the next two to three years, we will likely see prices dropping and more mid-range electric vehicles reaching the local market.
The global momentum behind electric cars seems unstoppable, with global sales of battery-powered cars, light trucks and commercial vehicles reaching 6.75-million units in 2021, 108% more than in 2020. We believe electric vehicles will be the wave of the future," he concludes.
Are you considering a switch from petrol or diesel to electricity? Let us know which car you're interested in and why in the comments section.
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