Electric vehicles accounted for just 5% of the American new car market in 2018, but up to 40 million Americans say they’ll consider buying an electric car as their next vehicle. The expectation is that electric vehicles will quickly make up the majority of cars on the road. With this, road laws have started to change and will continue to do so as states attempt to keep a steady income of taxes to maintain roads as new laws around safety become necessary.

New or higher registration fees in many states

Some states have been offering incentives to encourage people to switch to electric vehicles, but a lot have stopped this as of 2020 and have introduced new or higher registration fees and some are bringing in a yearly tax. Registration fees are largely to cover the state’s loss in taxes from less fuel being bought for electric vehicles. This tax is essential for road and bridge building and maintenance. The yearly tax will help states to build and supply electric vehicle charging infrastructure. In Hawaii, the fee is $50, $100 in Kansas, and $200 in Ohio and Alabama. Other states bringing in fees include Oregon, Utah, and California.

Electric vehicles are too quiet for some

One of the many pros of electric vehicles is that they are a lot quieter than other vehicles. At around 20 kph (12 mph), electric cars are almost silent and present a problem for bicyclists and pedestrians, particularly those with loss of sight. Research shows that electric cars are approximately 40% more likely than a conventional car to hit a pedestrian. As of July 2019 in Europe, all new electric and hybrid vehicles have had to emit a noise when traveling at low speeds. Existing vehicles are gradually being retrofitted with devices too. This law was brought in after blind people reported concerns and a guide dog and its owner were hit by a reversing electric car in Japan. From July 2020, America will also be introducing this law and requiring all fully hybrid cars to make a sound at speeds below 18.6 mph.

Changes in car insurance

The UK has brought in laws that allow the government to bring automated vehicle insurance in line with conventional insurance practice already on offer. The aim of this is to fully cover motorists when they’re driving their electric vehicle themselves or its control has been handed over to the vehicle itself. Many electric vehicles also have self-driving components as the technology is developing and getting approved, so this change in the law helps to get roads, infrastructure, and insurance companies ready for the future. Other countries will undoubtedly follow suit as the number of electric vehicles on roads continues to increase.

Electric and hybrid vehicles come with plenty of benefits, but they’re different in a lot of ways to conventional vehicles, which is why changes in the law are to be expected. Some law changes revolve around safety, whilst others are about keeping taxes at a manageable level so that roads and infrastructure can be maintained.