Should I buy an Electric Vehicle?
Although electric cars are thought of as the future of motoring, they’re not actually a new concept. The concept has been around since as long ago as 1884, when an English inventor attempted to build the first production electric car. Improvements in petrol and diesel technology marked the end of the popularity of electric cars at that time, but they are now staging a remarkable comeback.
With each passing year, the electric car has developed in a more user-friendly way, be it through the introduction of artificial noise, concepts such as regenerative braking (when you break, some electricity goes back into the battery), and associated services which make the purchase of an electric vehicle far more enticing, such as a large ramp up in the charging network across Ireland.
Below, we have identified four areas which impact of the electric vehicle market, and which we believe both consumers and manufacturers should be aware of.
Electric Vehicle Batteries
All car manufacturers, and third-party suppliers, should be aware that there are legal requirements relating to the labelling and registration of electric vehicle car batteries. There are also obligations to ensure their proper handling at the end of their use in an electric vehicle.
From a consumer perspective, it is important to carefully consider the wording of the warranty that accompanies any electric vehicle purchase. This is because degradation in battery capacity over time may constitute normal wear and tear in the vehicle, and therefore not form part of the warranty.
In addition, the size of the battery in the car you purchase is largely driven by your driving habits. Larger batteries cost more and you will carry the weight around even if you don’t need it. Deciding what battery size you need is like deciding the engine size and fuel type of a car based on driving needs.
Marketing and Advertising
All electric vehicle manufacturers need to carefully vet the accuracy of any assurance that it makes in advertising, on websites, brochures or customer-facing materials of any kind in relation to battery capacity and degradation, range, horsepower and acceleration of their electric vehicle.
This in order to minimise the risk that customers, having purchased an electric vehicle on the basis of those assurances, return the car to the manufacturer, or any third party, and attempt to launch legal claims against the manufacturer, alleging misrepresentation in the sale of the product.
As the market for electric vehicles matures, it will be important for a customer acquiring a second hand electric vehicle to carefully review its service history. The service reports for electric vehicles will usually give guidance on the health of the battery. This report provides peace of mind that the vehicle you buy can live up to your expectations. When importing a vehicle, this is particularly important, as you may not have the comfort of going to your local dealer with an issue.
From the manufacturer’s perspective, and in accordance with the EU Right-to-Repair Regulation, a manufacturer should provide unrestricted and standardised access to vehicle repair and maintenance information to independent operators (but can charge reasonable and proportionate fees for access to vehicle repair and maintenance information).
Rollout of a network of charging points
Battery charging can happen in two ways: by plugging the car to a conventional plug (the solution of all car manufacturers) or by developing a network of replacing stations where the battery is automatically extracted and replaced with a new one.
The operator of a network of electric vehicle charge points is obliged to locate the charge points subject to general network connection rules, planning law and safety regulations. Typically, the operator leases the space in which the charge-point is located and is responsible for the establishment and maintenance of their supply points. Depending on their location, an operator may apply for subsidies for the installation of publicly accessible electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
The electric vehicle has come a considerable distance in a relatively short space of time as a viable prospect for mass customer use. There are some residual issues which require the public to be convinced of (e.g range anxiety) but, all things considered, the future looks bright for the non-fossil fuelled motor vehicle.
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The material contained in this post is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be sought on any particular matter. No liability whatsoever is accepted by PF Solicitors for any action taken in reliance on the information in this post.