Electric car road tax guide – do I need to pay?

Electric car road tax guide – do I need to pay?
From 1 April 2025, drivers of electric vehicles will pay for road tax for the first time in the UK. The new 2025 Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) rules will have a significant impact for thousands of EV owners and their annual motoring costs.

The new electric car road tax changes will affect current and future owners of EVs (electric vehicles). There will also be an expensive car tax supplement for electric cars exceeding £40,000. This guide will set out what road tax costs EV owners can expect right now – and how much they will pay when the VED rules change for electric car drivers in 2025.

What is electric car road tax?

Road tax, also known as VED or car tax, is an annual payment imposed on motor vehicles that are used or parked on public roads in the UK.

It is a form of taxation used by governments to generate revenue and contribute to the costs associated with maintaining and improving road infrastructure.

Road tax is calculated based on emissions levels, and those with higher levels will pay more each year. This is because they contribute more to pollution and environmental impact. However, from 2025, zero emission vehicles and electric cars will have to pay road tax VED for the first time. 

Do EVs need to be road taxed?

Yes, almost all vehicles need to have been road taxed in order to drive on UK roads – including electric vehicles (EVs).

However, electric car drivers currently do not need to pay anything to tax their vehicle and the annual VED is provided free of charge. In 2025, that will change.

How much do EV drivers pay for road tax?

At the moment, drivers of electric vehicles do not have to pay for road tax;. however, they must still get their vehicle taxed – even if they do not need to pay any money to do so. 

To be exempt from paying VED, the electricity used to charge the vehicle must come from an external source, such as a private or public chargepoint; an electric storage battery not connected to any source of power when the vehicle is moving; or hydrogen fuel cells.

For almost all other vehicles – including hybrids which can generate their own electricity – you must pay vehicle tax every year.

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How much will EV road tax be in 2025?

From 1 April 2025, drivers of electric vehicles will need to pay for VED – road tax. Announced by the Government in the 2022 Autumn Budget, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt stated: “To make our motoring tax system fairer I’ve decided that electric vehicles will no longer be exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty (VED).”

The 2025 EV road tax changes are as follows:

  • New zero-emission cars registered on or after 1 April 2025 will be liable to pay the lowest first-year rate of VED (which applies to vehicles with CO2 emissions 1 to 50g/km) currently £10 a year.
  • From the second year of registration onwards, they will move to the standard rate, currently £190 a year
  • Zero emission cars first registered between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2025 will also pay the standard rate
  • The Expensive Car Supplement exemption for electric vehicles is due to end in 2025. New zero emission cars registered on or after 1 April 2025 will therefore be liable for the Expensive Car Supplement. The Expensive Car Supplement currently applies to cars with a list price exceeding £40,000 for five years
  • Zero and low emission cars first registered between 1 March 2001 and 30 March 2017 currently in Band A will move to the Band B rate, currently £20 a year
  • Zero-emission vans will move to the rate for petrol and diesel light goods vehicles, currently £335 a year for most vans
  • Zero-emission motorcycles and tricycles will move to the rate for the smallest engine size, currently £25 a year
  • Rates for Alternative Fuel Vehicles and hybrids will also be equalised

Annual payments for EV owners

In addition to road tax, here are some of the annual payments that drivers of electric cars should be aware of.

  1. Electricity costs: Charging an electric car at home will increase your electricity consumption. The cost will depend on the efficiency of your vehicle, local electricity rates, and the number of miles you drive.
  2. Car insurance: EV insurance is something all drivers must have before they get behind the wheel. The cost of insuring an electric car can vary depending on factors such as your driving history, the specific vehicle model, and the insurance provider.
  3. Maintenance: Electric cars generally have fewer moving parts and require less maintenance compared to traditional combustion engine vehicles. However, there may still be costs for routine car maintenance, such as tire rotations, brake pad replacements, and fluid top-ups. The maintenance costs can vary based on the specific make and model of the electric car. Speak to your trusted local garage to get the best information possible on vehicle maintenance.

It's worth noting that government policies and incentives can change over time, so it's important to stay updated on the latest regulations and potential financial benefits available to electric vehicle owners in the UK.

Does every vehicle owner have to pay road tax in the UK?

According to the Government, some vehicles are exempt from paying vehicle tax each year.

However, you must tax your vehicle even if you do not have to pay.

This is a legal requirement for all EV owners – ignoring this will lead to legal issues with the police.

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