Electric cars are gradually becoming more popular in the UK, even if we have been slower to embrace the new technology compared with other countries. Hybrids, which combine electric and standard petrol engines occupy an even bigger part of the market, with people attracted by the eco advantages over standard engines. In practical terms, driving and owning an electric vehicle is no different to other types of car. You still need to insure it, and although you don’t fill it with petrol, it has to be plugged in to charge each night to top up the batteries. The good news from a financial point of view is that electric cars are exempt from road tax. If your electric car is more than three years old, it will need a MOT test, just like all other cars on the road.
MOT Payment and Booking
MOT tests are a standard price, irrespective of whether your car is electric, hybrid, petrol or diesel. The fees for MOT tests are capped by the government. Garages are free to charge what they like, up to the limit. When booking a MOT for an electric or hybrid vehicle, you won’t need to tell them specifically that your car is electric. Anyone can enter a registration number into the DVLA database and get basic information about a vehicle, such as its make, model, engine type and colour. You have some degree of flexibility over when to book your MOT test. If it is booked within four weeks of the expiration of the existing test, the current certificate will be extended by a year.
Differences in Testing for Electric Vehicles
The one main difference in the MOT test electric vehicles is that there is no need to test your vehicle for emissions. Emission tests are all about what comes out of your car’s exhaust pipe from the engine. If your car is too dirty, with too high levels of emissions, the car may fail its MOT. As electric vehicles run from battery power and not by burning fuel, there is no exhaust and no fumes coming from the engine at all. So MOT inspectors will just skip this test when assessing the roadworthiness of an electric vehicle.
What is Tested?
Apart from the emissions levels, all other aspects of the MOT test equally apply to electric vehicles. The testers will inspect tyres, suspension, windscreen, brakes and all other parts of the car which could affect its roadworthiness. It’s a detailed test which will take around 45 minutes to complete. At the end of the test, your car will either be given a pass certificate, or you’ll be told why the car has failed. Fails are classed as either dangerous or major. Either way, you’ll have to get the car fixed, but a major fail means you have a bit more flexibility over where you take the car to get the work done. If the certificate states a dangerous fault, you are prohibited from driving it on the public road before getting it fixed.