Do electric cars need MOT & tax?

Electric cars need an MOT to ensure they meet the government’s minimum safety and environmental standards.

The government has been encouraging more of us to buy electric vehicles for around a decade now Footnote [1]. But that hasn't made them any less keen to ensure all cars are safe to drive and all roads are fit for them to drive on.

So, even if your ride doesn’t guzzle gas like a 1950s V8 engine, you’ll still need to book it in for an MOT. And, from April 2025, you’ll need to pay road tax on it too.

Do electric cars need an MOT?

The short answer is yes, electric vehicles do need an annual check-up, or MOT, to make sure they meet the government’s minimum safety and environmental standards.

The MOT process for electric vehicles is similar to the one used for petrol and diesel cars. Some testers might need to read up on the extra requirements, but they can’t refuse to test a vehicle just because it’s electric. Footnote [2]   

Whatever car you have, the tester will check the lights, brakes, windscreen, seatbelts, and any other major parts. If testing an EV, they’ll also check the battery, cable, and electric motor, but they won’t need to do a noise or emissions test.

How much does an electric car MOT cost?

The cost of an MOT can vary depending on the garage or testing centre. But it shouldn’t be more expensive for an electric vehicle, and currently testers can’t legally charge over £54.85 for any car. Footnote [3]   

It's worth noting that some garages offer discounted or bundled rates if you combine the MOT with a general service – an additional check-up of your vehicle.

Common reasons for MOT failure

If your car is over three years old, you’re legally required to get an MOT every 12 months, however well you look after it. But by keeping it in good condition, you may lower the chance that it’ll fail the test and you’ll have to pay for repairs to get it back on the road.

With that in mind, here’re some common reasons a vehicle might fail its MOT.

Faulty or misaligned lights can lead your car to fail, so be sure to regularly check and replace any broken bulbs.

Brake issues such as worn-out brake pads can be a cause of failure too. Don’t wait for an MOT if you worry your brakes aren’t working properly – get them checked as soon as possible.

Worn-out tyres, specifically tyres with a tread depth, or rubber thickness, of less than 1.6mm can lead to failure.

You can check your tyres don’t fall below the legal limit using a 20p coin, because the coin’s outer rim is marked by a line about 1.6 mm from the edges.

Insert the coin into your tyres’ main tread grooves. If, on the side you’ve inserted it, the coin‘s outer rim is still visible above the rubber, it means the tyres have a tread depth of less than 1.6mm and likely need to be replaced.

Note that if you’re unsure, it’s best to check with a professional.

Excessive emissions can be a cause of failure for hybrid cars – they have exhaust pipes after all. So, if you own a hybrid, look out for signs it might be pumping out too many fumes, such as thick smoke or a rattling sound coming from the exhaust.

Windscreen damage can lead to MOT failure if it blocks the driver's view. Not sure if a chip, crack, or even a sticker presents a risk? Have your windscreen checked by a mechanic.

Are electric cars taxed?

For now, one of the benefits of owning an electric car remains not having to pay Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), or road tax. The exemption applies to all fully electric vehicles, including pure electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars.

However, this will change in April 2025, when the government plans to begin charging road tax for all EVs. For the first year, the amount you pay will depend on the date your vehicle was registered, then, in April 2026 it will increase to at least the standard rate for all electric vehicles.

If you own a hybrid car, classed by the government as an alternative fuel type, you’re already required to pay road tax.

You can check the current tax rates for different vehicles here.

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