If you’re thinking about buying your first electric car, we know it can be daunting.
Aside from getting the best deal, there are some other factors to consider, such as getting your insurance sorted, arranging government grants and thinking about car tax.
Read on to find out the need-to-know information before you plug in and go!
Getting insurance for plug-in vehicles is much easier than it used to be, now that insurance providers have caught up with how electric vehicles (EVs) work.
You may find that the industry generally places EVs in a higher insurance group rating than petrol or diesel cars of similar size. This is largely due to the lack of historical data from which insurance companies base their premiums.
There are plenty of specialist insurance providers, however, who will be able to offer a more tailored policy for green vehicles.
However, the most important variable in a car insurance quote of any kind is the driver – insurance companies will consider your risk profile before giving you a quote. The good news is, as an EV driver, you tend to be considered a safer and lower-risk driver, as a result of your eco-conscious decision to drive green.
Most EV drivers are exempt from the following taxes in the UK:
Fuel duty isn’t applied to the electricity used by plug-in electric or hydrogen fuel cell car owners.
Only zero-emission vehicles are exempt from paying VED for the first year of ownership. In order to qualify for tax exemption, the vehicle must be pure electric. This means the electricity must come from an external power source or an electric storage battery that isn’t connected to any source of power while the vehicle is moving.
In the second year, zero-emission vehicles with a list price less than £40,000 will continue to be tax-free.
Plug-in hybrid EVs are now likely to cost between £0 and £105 for the first year depending on CO2 emissions – and then £145 each year thereafter.
The DVLA states that the ‘list price’ is the published price before any discounts.
Charging a plug-in vehicle at home attracts only a 5% level of VAT, in comparison to 20% for road fuels.
Are you a business user? You’ll be pleased to know you can enjoy a wider range of tax benefits.
The UK government will also give you a grant towards the cost of a new electric car or van, provided it meets certain criteria.
You do not need to do anything if you want to buy one of these vehicles - the dealer will include the value of the grant in the vehicle’s price.
The maximum grant available for cars is £1,500.
You can read the DVLA’s full list of eligible plug-in vehicles here.
You cannot get a grant for:
There is no application process for getting a government grant for your EV; the grant will be automatically applied at point of purchase.
You may be asked to fill out a short questionnaire, but overall the process is straightforward.
A UK Government scheme which saw eligible EV owners receive grants of up to £350 towards the cost of having a home charger installed is set to change this year.
The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) was introduced in September 2014 and was created to encourage people to make the switch to EVs by offering up to 75% off the cost of home charger installation.
However, from April 2022, the EVHS will no longer be available to homeowners – including those with mortgages – who live in single-unit properties, such as bungalows and detached, semi-detached or terraced housing.
The scheme will remain open to homeowners who live in flats and those in rental accommodation.
The list of eligible vehicles is the same for this grant as it is for the Plug-in Car and Van Grant. However, this grant also applies to secondhand EVs.
In order to take advantage of this grant, your home must have off-street parking facilities where a charging point can be installed.
People who use an electric vehicle as a company car are eligible provided they are named as the primary user.
Full details can be viewed on the DVLA website.
You might not be eligible if:
This grant requires a little more effort than your purchase grant, but it’s not too difficult. All you need to do is to submit a grant claim including evidence of ownership, lease or primary use information to the government.
If you are accepted for the grant, you’ll then need to sign an OLEV installation form confirming the install details.
A certified installer will then install the charging point at your home.
Form details and contact information can be found on the DVLA website.