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Low carbon travel

Electric vehicles

Benefits

  • lower servicing and maintenance costs
  • zero rate of vehicle excise duty
  • cheaper to refuel than petrol or diesel vehicles

Choosing an electric car can help you save money and reduce your carbon footprint.

Our guide will tell you more about the different types of vehicle available and how you can save money on purchasing an electric car.

Electric vehicles are an increasingly attractive option, due to their lower running costs, the expanding choice of models available and intensifying concerns about air quality and climate change.

Learn more about the types of electric vehicles, their benefits and what financial support is available to help buy one.

What is an electric vehicle?

This short video will explain what electric vehicles are and the benefits of driving one instead of a petrol or diesel equivalent.

Types of electric vehicles

Benefits of electric vehicles

While the initial upfront purchase price of an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle can be higher, this is usually offset by lower running costs.

Electric vehicles offer savings including:

  • A full charge in a pure electric vehicle will give a typical range of over 100 miles and will cost approximately £4-6 if charging at home, and £8-10 if using public charging points. Driving 100 miles in a petrol or diesel car will cost around £13-16 in fuel, which can be three or four times more than the cost of charging the electric car. The cost savings will be most significant when owners charge at home and have access to an off-peak overnight electricity tariff.
  • There are fewer mechanical components in an electric vehicle compared with conventional vehicles, which often results in lower servicing and maintenance costs.
  • Pure EVs have a zero rate of vehicle excise duty.
  • Plug-in cars emitting 75g/km CO2 or less, which meet the Euro 6 emission standard and have at least 20 miles zero-emission range, are eligible for a 100 per cent discount from the London congestion charge. A regular user of this zone could be saving over £2,000 a year.
  • The lower or zero emissions of plug-in vehicles mean that they will attract lower charges from clean air zones being implemented around the UK and London’s ultra low emission zone (ULEZ).
  • Free parking for electric vehicles is available in some towns and cities.

Support for purchasing an electric vehicle

Grants are available to reduce the initial purchase cost of eligible plug-in vehicles and the cost and installation of charging points. The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) is responsible for these grants.

The plug-in vehicle grant provides up to:

  • A maximum of £2,500 provided the car has CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km and can travel at least 112km (70 miles) without any emissions at all.
  • 20% of the cost of a van, up to a maximum of £8,000.
  • 20% of the cost of a motorcycle, up to a maximum of £1,500.

The grant is automatically deducted from the retail price when an eligible vehicle is purchased, so there is no additional paperwork to complete.

If you live in Scotland, an interest-free electric vehicle loan and used electric vehicle loan are available.

Additional resources

  • There is additional support available on the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles website

    Find out more
  • You can also get information on electric vehicles from Citizens Advice

    Read more

Last updated: 20 October 2021