EV test drive initiative aims to boost flagging demand

Accident management specialist AX is launching a unique EV test drive initiative to help boost flagging demand for electric vehicles and support the sustainability objectives of insurers, retailers and manufacturers.

EValuate by AX gives petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicle drivers the opportunity to experience an EV replacement vehicle while their own vehicle is being repaired following an accident.

This latest innovation is the greenest accident management and mobility solution in the market, according to AX, and offers environmental benefits to its insurer partners by providing EV replacement vehicles when their customers’ cars are off the road.

It will also support retailers and manufacturers by providing sales leads when vehicles are deemed uneconomical to repair. EValuate gives drivers access to an EV for 28 days on average while their vehicle is being assessed and repaired.

With average repair periods increasing due to the complexity of modern vehicles and global supply chain issues impacting access to parts, the EValuate initiative provides drivers of combustion engine vehicles with an immersive, real-world EV test drive while their vehicle is off the road.

EV test drive initiative

Introduced to help boost the sustainability credentials of its insurer, fleet and dealership partners while supporting the UK’s transition away from petrol and diesel vehicles, the initiative could see the 40,000 motorists AX handles annually experience what it is like to live with an EV.

Revealing considerable appetite to sample EVs in the real-world, an AX survey found that 44% of motorists think that an EV replacement is an effective way of testing out EV ownership. The survey also revealed that more than 18% of motorists are considering purchasing an EV as their next car.

Despite the fully electric vehicle market share rising to 17.6% in May, this was sustained entirely by fleet and business buyers as private retail demand continues to drop – only around one in six new BEVs bought this year have gone to consumers. This makes it more challenging for manufacturers to meet the government’s zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate.

However, a recent study suggests that 91% of EV drivers would not consider returning to a vehicle with a combustion engine. AX will use its diverse fleet of 5,000 vehicles and unique partnerships with vehicle manufacturers to enable consumers to experience an EV replacement while their vehicle is being repaired following an accident.

EV test drive initiative - Scott Hamilton-Cooper

Scott Hamilton-Cooper (pictured), chief commercial officer at AX, said of the EV test drive initiative:

“EValuate can help insurers retain customers while supporting their environmental goals. And given that we have access to the private buyer market, vehicle manufacturers have an opportunity to use our fleet as a marketing platform.

“Our industry is uniquely placed to provide consumers a real-world experience of an EV for an extended period, which is significantly longer than traditional test drive schemes. It is a first in the accident aftercare sector and while giving consumers a far more immersive experience of an EV compared to a typical test drive, it will also help our partners to achieve their sustainability goals.

“It will bring down average CO2 emissions for our business while helping the fleets, insurers, and dealers we work with to minimise their environmental impact, too. Even if drivers do not go on to purchase an EV, for the duration of the hire period there is a significantly lower environmental impact,” he added.

Dan Cripps, director of fleet and logistics at AX, added: “Our fleet is evolving as the nation embraces alternatively fuelled vehicles. By offering motorists the opportunity to test an EV for an extended period in their real-world environment, we can help boost private buyer demand and encourage more people to embrace electric vehicles. Having transitioned to an EV 12 months ago, I know there are adjustments to make but these will be understood and overcome quite quickly.”

EValuate will also be available through the modular incident management provider Motor Assist.