With so few EVs on the road it's been difficult to gauge whether they'll cost more or less than the equivalent internal combustion vehicle, since there are so many variables that differ. What would drivetrain components cost to replace? Will there be a shortage of parts?
There might be good news on the horizon though. U.K-based finance company Credit Plus has suggested that the 2011 Nissan LEAF will be cheap to insure.
It bases this assumption on several factors.
Firstly, the warranty Nissan are offering at five years for electrical components is above the industry standard - in the U.K. at least, though the 8 year, 100,000 mile warranty offered in the U.S. is even more impressive and keeps the LEAF competitive with the 2011 Chevrolet Volt. Long warranties mean more costs covered by the manufacturer and less risk for the insurer.
Accident rates for the LEAF are expected to be lower than average too. The reasons for this are interesting to speculate on. Perhaps LEAF drivers will be more careful than many drivers, treating the car as a new piece of technology like you might with your prized iPhone or new laptop computer? Any new gadget gets special treatment when you buy it and perhaps EVs illicit the same behaviour.
The driving experience might be a factor too. With little to no noise coming from the car, drivers might be less agressive behind the wheel and move at a more sedate pace, both to conserve battery charge and also to enjoy the experience of wafting along the road in near silence. If you're driving in a more relaxed manner, you're unlikely to take too many risks and again, this reflects positively on premiums.
The relaxed nature of the LEAF might even rub off on other motorists - something as unique as an electric car might be less likely to provoke competitive motoring from other drivers. Alternatively, the distinctive shape might catch their eye a little more, giving them extra time to take any evasive action.
Whatever the reason, if insurance companies think you're less likely to have an accident than a motorist in an equivalent fossil fuel car, you'll feel the benefits in reduced insurance costs.
Will other electric cars benefit from lower premiums too? We hope so, since many other EVs will share the motoring benefits the LEAF offers. AllCarsElectric is looking into EV insurance and we're sure to let you know as soon as we have a definitive answer.