Do electric cars need MOTs and tax?

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Image of a mechanic performing an MOT

The UK government has pushed for electric vehicle (EV) and hybrid car uptake to lower emissions.

This means drivers get benefits like zero or reduced tax, lower servicing and reduced maintenance costs to offset their higher upfront costs. But how does this work?

In this article, we'll cover two areas:

What's an electric car MOT?

The Ministry of Transport roadworthiness test (MOT) has expanded over the years to include additional checks and new vehicle types, like electric and hybrid cars.

The MOT for EVs works just like any other – to test for roadworthiness.

Do electric cars need an MOT?


Like conventional petrol-and-diesel-powered vehicles, EVs require MOTs every year, three years after their first registration.

Do hybrid cars need an MOT?


Vehicles need an MOT every year (if over three years old) to make sure they’re safe to drive on UK roads.

Hybrids, which have various degrees of electrification (mild hybrid, full hybrid and plug-in hybrid), are no different.

How do hybrid and EV MOTs differ?

The main difference is that EVs don’t have an internal combustion engine (ICE), so there's no exhaust system to check and no need for an emissions or noise test.

Currently, hybrid cars are exempt from emissions testing too.

Other than that, hybrid and electric cars have the same standard checks, including:

  • brake pads and discs
  • seatbelts
  • windscreen
  • wipers
  • steering
  • suspension
  • tyres
  • bodywork
  • lights and indicators

Additional under-the-bonnet checks for EVs and hybrids include the high-voltage electric cabling, battery pack and electric motor.

How much is an EV MOT?

An electric car MOT costs the same as an ICE car.

According to the latest government guidance, test centres can’t charge more than £54.85 for a single MOT.

However, you can get it cheaper online or by contacting your local garages or auto centres.

The basic MOT charge doesn’t include additional repair work or parts; you might need these for your vehicle to pass it.

How much is a hybrid car MOT?

All MOTs cost the same price.

How to book MOTs for electric cars

You can find a list of all active MOT stations on GOV.UK.

The most common reasons for EV MOT failure

  • non-working lights
  • indicators
  • reflectors
  • faulty or broken suspensions
  • problems with brakes and tyres
  • bad visibility (like cracks on windscreens)

You can carry out checks on your car before taking it in. This can help solve simple problems beforehand and save money; it’s frustrating for a car to fail its MOT due to a broken bulb or lack of windscreen washer fluid.

Make sure your EV is charged when you drop it off.

Do electric cars pay road tax?

The government calculates Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), otherwise known as road tax or car tax, using a few factors:

  • vehicle age
  • the type of fuel
  • CO2 emissions or engine size
  • car price
  • pollution levels

A VED rate list is on GOV.UK

Exempt vehicles include EVs, classic cars more than 40 years old, agricultural vehicles such as tractors, and vehicles used by disabled people.

How long will EVs be tax-free?

From 2025, electric vehicles must pay road tax. The amount will depend on the car's age.

New EVs registered on or after 1 April 2025 will pay £10 in the first year, increasing to £165 from the second year onwards.

This rate will also apply to electric vehicles first registered after 1 April 2017.

Road tax for electric cars first registered between 1 March 2001 and 31 March 2017 is expected to be in the new 'Band B' rate, which is currently set at £20 per year.

Is premium rate tax payable on EVs?


However, from April 2025, anyone buying a new car – electric or otherwise – priced over £40,000 will face £165 in tax, plus a £355 expensive car supplement, every year from the second to sixth year of registration.

From year seven, the annual tax drops to the standard rate (£165).

Do hybrid car owners pay car tax?

Yes. Hybrid cars must pay road tax, but they currently get a £10 discounted rate, compared to traditional full petrol or diesel cars.

Why do hybrid cars need to pay road tax?

Hybrid cars still use petrol or diesel and their small electric battery, leading to CO2 emissions.

That said, there’s a big difference between the claimed CO2 emissions of the different types of hybrid cars.

For instance, emissions from a Ford Puma mild hybrid are as slow as 123g/km, compared to 93g/km from a hybrid Toyota Corolla, while a MINI Countryman plug-in hybrid's emissions start at 40g/km.

Is premium rate tax payable on hybrids?

Any hybrid with a list price of £40,000 or above incurs an additional premium rate road tax for five years (starting from the second time the vehicle is taxed).

How to pay road tax

There are different ways of paying your VED.

You can make a lump sum payment or spread the cost of car tax by paying monthly or six monthly via Direct Debit.

There’s a 5% surcharge if you pay monthly or every six months.

Is insurance cheaper for electric cars?

It depends.

Read our electric car insurance mythbuster to find out more.

I'm an experienced journalist, digital editor and copywriter, now specialising in motoring. I’m editor of Automotive Blog and have worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online for household names including the BBC, GMTV, ITV and MSN. I’ve produced digital content in the financial sector for Lloyds Bank, Nationwide and the Money Advice Service. I'm married with two children and live near Bath in Somerset.

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