Electric and hybrid cars have been quietly rising in popularity over the past few years – and that’s the problem. They’re too quiet.
According to campaigners, the smooth and almost silent nature of the vehicles is a potential hazard for pedestrians and therefore a potential for price increase on car insurance.
New registrations for such cars in the UK have risen from 3,500 in 2013 to almost 97,000 by the end of April 2017, while the number of electric vehicles sold in the UK has risen from around 500 per month in the first half of 2014 to more than 3,000 per month in the past year.
But the lack of an internal combustion engine (ICE) means the cars glide almost noiselessly along tarmac, especially when travelling at lower speeds or during manoeuvres such as reversing.
And recent research has shown that electric or hybrid cars are 40% more likely to hit a pedestrian than conventional vehicles due to the lack of sound.
In fact, a study commissioned by the charity Guide Dogs also found a 54% increase in accidents where pedestrians were injured by quiet vehicles from 2012 to 2013.