The latest news for motorists from our man McCann
Electric Car Reliability
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been told that electric cars will put car mechanics out of business ‘because there’s no engine to go wrong!’. Well yeah, but there’s plenty more that gives trouble, as the latest survey from What Car magazine shows.
I once dared to write in a national newspaper that Teslas were perhaps less than perfect and the abuse and trolling I received from fanatics had to be seen to be believed. So goodness knows what will happen this time when I reveal that the least reliable car was Tesla’s Model S.
What went wrong? Bodywork 30%; Non-engine electrics 19%; Interior trim 7%; Suspension 7%; Air-con 4%; Battery 4%; Brakes 4%; Exterior lights 4%; Sat-nav 4%; Steering 4%; Wheels/tyres 4%. Although the Tesla Model S's electric powertrain is proving reliable, the same can’t be said of its electrical systems or bodywork. Issues reported by owners included bent seat frames, broken door handles and parking sensor failures. Just over half of the cars were out of action for at least a week and some fixes cost more than £1500.
The Renault Zoe can’t match the exemplary record of it main rival, the Nissan Leaf; 36% suffered faults, of which 21% were engine electrics. More than half of Zoes were forced off the road for more than a week, but all were repaired under warranty.
Almost a third of BMW i3s were faulty. Bodywork caused the most trouble (12%), ahead of suspension, air-con and sat-nav (all 6%). Most cars were fixed within a week, and all of them for free.
Reliability for hybrids and electric cars aged one to four yearsReliability for hybrids and electric cars aged one to four years:
1. Nissan Leaf (2011-2017) 99.7%
2. Toyota Yaris Hybrid (2011-present) 98.2%
3. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (2014-present) 97.7%
4. Lexus IS (2013-present) 97.6%
5. Toyota Auris Hybrid (2013-present) 96.7%
6. Lexus NX (2009-2017) 96.6%
7. Toyota Prius (2016-present) 94.0%
8. Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, PHEV and EV (2016-present) 93.8%
9. BMW i3 (2013-present) 91.0%
10. Renault Zoe (2013-present) 83.0%
11. Tesla Model S (2013-present) 50.9%
Car Insurance Fraud
Ever told a ‘little white lie’ when getting car insurance quotes? According to comparison website GoCompare, last year 449,000 confirmed or suspected dishonest insurance applications were detected by insurers. Of these, most were for car insurance where drivers either lied or withheld information in an attempt to get cheaper cover.
The consequences for drivers caught being economical with the truth are severe and their insurer may cancel the policy, refuse to pay a claim or prosecute them for fraud.
When applying for or renewing car insurance, drivers are under duty to disclose information and truthfully answer the questions put to them. Insurers use this information to decide whether to offer insurance to the applicant, on what terms and at what price. If subsequently an insurer discovers that information has been withheld or given dishonestly then they may reduce or refuse to settle a claim and/or cancel the policy.
If the driver is found to have been fraudulent then the insurer may treat the policy as if it had never existed. The applicant could also end up in court and find they are unable to get insurance in the future.
We asked GoCompare for the top five ‘fibs’ that could invalidate your car insurance:
1. How the car is used
There are three types of car usage: social; social and commuting; and business use. Social usage excludes any travel to and from work or other business use, so if you use your car to get to work then you need to make sure your policy covers commuting. Insurers tend to charge a higher premium for commuting and business use because drivers are more likely to be on the road at the busiest times of day.
To get cheaper cover for a young driver, some parents arrange insurance for their son or daughter, listing them as an additional driver as opposed to the main driver. This is known as ‘fronting’ and insurers consider it fraud. The person who uses the car most often should be listed as the main driver on the policy, additional drivers should only be added if they drive the car occasionally.
Your occupation and the way you describe it will impact on the price you pay for car insurance. You will also need to tell your insurer if you change your job.
4. Withholding information about previous claims or damage to your car
In addition to more serious accidents, you should declare details of minor knocks and dents – even if you didn’t claim for the accident.
5. Failing to own up to penalty points or other driving convictions
Deliberately failing to disclose driving offences is fraudulent. Drivers should declare penalty points and other motoring convictions when applying for a policy. Drivers should also notify their insurer immediately of any penalty points received during the term of their cover – rather than waiting until it comes up for renewal.