Buying a car using a spreadsheet doesn’t sound like fun. But it is. I mean, we’ve spent endless evenings watching YouTube videos of electric vehicles and getting ‘real world’ feedback (OK from journalists who at least have sat in the car in question). We’re eagle eyed EV spotters when we’re out and about. We work out where and how we’d recharge on every trip we make (for every potential vehicle). And after extensive research / bickering the conclusion is that only one car actually ticks the boxes and is available more-or-less now.
So, although it has a reasonably hefty price tag, we decided to look into the Tesla Model 3. Of course it helps that it’s all sleek and curvy and looks like a car from the future rather than a trendy milk float.
Obviously the first thing when you look at a new car is to check the price tag. If you say £38,000 really quickly it doesn’t sound that much. OK, it does. But *it runs on sunlight*. That immediately knocks £150 a month off our general running costs as that’s the kind of money we spend on fuel.
We decided to look again at the various finance options and decided use the spreadsheet to take all the costs together as package. Line 2 after the price tag... How much is insurance then? Time to do some research.
Hmm. Maybe market isn’t quite ready yet. Our first quote was a hefty £2,000 + (when a used i3 would set us back £700 per year for comprehensive insurance including business use). The broker said ‘it might be better once you actually have the car’ to try and reassure us. Being in your 40s and offered the kind of deal intended to dissuade a boy racer from driving a Micra was not quite what we had in mind when embarking on our Yorkshire approach to vehicle purchase.
Since then, an email landed in the office inbox, boldly proclaiming ‘electric car insurance is here’:
Well, maybe it is. But not for a Tesla Model 3. Quote duly filled in but computer says no:
Which is a bit odd really. Tesla puts a lot of faith in its autopilot increasing driver safety - and I’m pretty sure they know more about their cars once they are being driven than your average vehicle due to their designed around data ideology. Not to mention that they’re virtually theft proof.
Then someone mentioned that Tesla is planning on bringing out its own policies.
This I can see the point to. Teslas have complete telematics from the get go (the kind of stuff other insurers install as add ons to reduce premiums). It could easily offer policies based on mileage and driving style. Not only does it need for its cars to be affordable to insure from a business point of view, but also, it probably has a better actuarial appreciation of risk than the less specialist insurers out there. For instance it built its telematics and driving aids - and knows how safe the car is to drive and also how easy (or otherwise) to steal.
The only fly in this ointment is repair - without a big network of authorised dealers they’re much less easy to get fixed if they do get damaged (and however safety conscious the autopilot is, it can’t stop someone else running into you) which adds to insurers’ costs.
In the end our existing insurer - DirectLine - which also has a dedicated Tesla line - provided a more acceptable quote. The spreadsheet lives on - so maybe we’ll go for a test drive.
By Beate Kubitz at 15 Jun 2019, 00:00 AM