How much is road tax for an electric car (UK)?

    Note: The information provided in the article below is correct as at 22 December 2023.

    If you’re considering an electric car, their benefits may quickly dispel any doubts you have about leaving petrol behind. For example, electric vehicles don’t pay the congestion charge and are exempt from ULEZ payments too, but do you have to pay road tax on electric cars?

    Read on to find out!

    How do electric cars pay road tax?
    Road tax is simply a fact of life when it comes to car ownership…or is it?

    Do electric cars pay road tax?

    Currently, zero emission cars are exempt from paying any Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), a.k.a. road tax, including the expensive car supplement. Alternative fuel vehicles and hybrids pay a discounted rate of road tax.

    From 1st April, 2025, all of these car fuel types will move to paying a full rate of road tax, so you will have to get used to checking the tax on a vehicle. This includes the ‘expensive car supplement’ which applies to cars bought at £40,000 or more. At the moment, this is paid as a £310 extra tax paid along with the annual road tax rate, for the first five years of ownership.

    When the change comes into effect, newly registered EVs from 1st April 2025 will have to match the first year road tax payment of ‘Band B’ petrol cars (£10).

    Then, every time they renew their road tax (which can be done either annually or biannually), they will pay the standard rate of £165, and the expensive car supplement if applicable.

    As for zero emissions cars registered between 1st April 2017 and 31st March 2025, they will start paying standard annual rate car tax at £165 too.

    Low-emission and zero-emission cars that were registered between 1st April 2001 and 30th March 2017 will pay just £20 a year. By the time the changes take place, these cars will be at least eight years old.

    The government has announced that they will “equalise” rates for alternative fuel vehicles and hybrids, however, they have not yet detailed what charges this will entail.

    Zero emission vans will also start matching the petrol and diesel light good vehicles rate, which at present is £290 per year.This road tax policy change reflects the importance of preparing for the 2035 switchover. So far it’s unclear whether this will put motorists off buying EVs.

    Do hybrid cars pay road tax?

    Yes, hybrid cars have to pay road tax, but they get a lower rate than traditional full petrol or diesel cars. This is because hybrid cars still use traditional fuel as well as their electric motors, leading to CO2 emissions.  

    As above, this is due to change in 2025. Hybrid vehicles will start paying road tax at the standard rate, as well as paying the expensive car supplement where applicable.

    How is road tax calculated? 

    Road tax is calculated in different ways depending on the age of your car:

    • The VED of cars registered after March 2001 is based on CO2 tailpipe emissions
    • The VED of cars registered before March 2001 is based on engine size

    At present, that means battery electric cars are exempt from road tax due to their zero emissions and absence of an engine. Road tax will be charged at a reduced first-year rate if your CO2 emissions are particularly low, but it doesn’t stay that way, increasing from year 2 onwards.

    From 1st March 2025, these figures will change. The first band at £0 will be dissolved, with all zero emissions cars paying at least ‘Band B’ levels of £10 in the first year and £165 in the second.


    Why have I been fined for not paying road tax on my electric car?

    Electric cars don’t have to pay road tax, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to apply for it. So, while you may have saved yourself the cost, unfortunately, you haven’t saved yourself the admin. 

    You’ll get your yearly reminder to pay your road tax as usual, and you will need to follow the normal process, except you don’t pay anything at the end. Do not ignore your renewal notice or you could be hit with a fine of up to  £1,000.

    do electric cars pay road tax?
    Road tax is based on CO2 emissions, which means zero-emissions vehicles are currently exempt, although that’s changing from 1st April 2025

    How do electric cars pay road tax?

    Even when your EV is exempt from paying it, you’ll still need to apply for road tax or you may have to pay a hefty fine. The same goes for any SORN declarations.

    To pay your road tax, you can go to your local Post Office with your V5C logbook, MOT certificate, and insurance cover note. Alternatively, you can pay online via the DVLA car tax website. You need your V5C logbook and car tax reminder letter to have all the correct login details. 

    To check that your car is taxed (or if it needs renewing), you can look your car up on the DVLA website by searching for your reg number.

    What is the £40,000 road tax rule?

    There is also an additional charge placed on expensive cars. These are any cars you buy new for a value at or over £40,000 – included extra factory fitted options. 

    From 1st April 2025, EVs will pay this extra supplement as well. Currently, it’s only hybrids, petrol, and diesel engines that are liable for the extra charge. 

    The supplement is £310 per year for the first five years of ownership.

    Will I have to pay car tax on electric cars after 2035?

    Higher road tax rates for EVs from 2025 have now been announced, due to the rising proportion of EV drivers on the road. From 2035, new petrol and diesel cars will no longer be sold, so it’s almost certain that road tax will continue to apply to EVs. Whether rates and charges will change again is not yet known. Read our handy guide on buying and selling an electric car if the road tax change has made you uncertain.

    Ready to sell your car?

    Ready to learn more about valuing, maintaining, and selling your car? Check out more of our guides here, covering everything from hybrid and electric car depreciation, to converting your car to dual-LPG fuel.