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UK: Benefits of Electric Vehicles for city driving

Driving in the city is a different experience from taking a car for a spin in the open countryside or on the motorway.

In the same way that urban roads require an adaptation of driving style, they also favour a certain type of vehicle.

As greater pressure is placed on motorists to reduce their carbon foot print, the benefits of electric vehicles (EVs) for city driving are being explored and it is increasingly becoming apparent that these zero-emission cars are the perfect urban option.

Cost cutting solutions

Arguably the most significant benefit of EVs for drivers is their ability to lower vehicle expenditure.

Using electricity automatically reduces the amount of money needed to cover fuel costs, but when EVs are used in the city they really come into their own as money saving solutions.

Hybrid cars only run on electric up to a certain speed and when driving on motorways fuel is required to supplement the vehicle. However, in the city you are only driving at low speeds, meaning that cars can run purely on electric. This negates the need for regular refuelling, which can be expensive. Similarly, EVs that run entirely on electric use less power when driving at lower city speeds. Therefore, a car will not need to be charged up as regularly.

For company car drivers, benefit-in-kind payments are also lower for fuel efficient and EV vehicles. Currently, zero and ultra-low emission cars (those emitting less than 75 g/km of CO2) do not pay tax. Although this will change in April 2013 through changes put forward in Budget 2012, the incentive to choose EVs is still present.

As of April, the lower threshold for calculating car benefit charges is 99g/km. Vehicles in this bracket calculate their tax using an appropriate percentage of 10%. This means that the lower the emissions a vehicle emits, the less tax it will be subject to.

Furthermore, vehicle exercise duty – also known as road tax – is lower for EVs. Cars with emissions up to 100g/km pay no duty, while those with between 101-110g/km emissions pay just £20 per year. This rises to £30 for cars emitting 111-120g/km.

EV drivers in London are also exempt from congestion charges, making motoring much cheaper.


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