What is an MOT?
Established by the Department of Transport in the 1960s, the MOT has been a mainstay in assessing vehicle safety for decades. The MOT test is a yearly examination for vehicles older than three years conducted in the UK. It is designed to ensure that cars, motorcycles, and other road vehicles meet environmental and road safety standards.
Electric Cars and MOTs
Although electric cars often come with several exemptions, such as no road tax, no congestion or ULEZ charges, and other benefits, there's a common misconception that they are also exempt from MOTs. This is not the case. Just like conventional vehicles, electric cars must undergo this test once they reach three years of age.
Why electric cars need an MOT
One reason electric cars require MOTs is that, even though they don't have traditional engines, electric vehicles still possess parts that can wear out or become unsafe. These parts include brakes, tyres, lights, and many structural components that need regular inspection.
The checklist includes:Lights: Ensure all lights are working correctly.
Seatbelts: Check for wear and functionality.
Windscreen: Inspect for chips or cracks.
Windscreen Wipers: Confirm they're in proper working condition.
Steering: Should be in sound working condition.
Wheels: Each wheel should spin freely.
Tyres: Ensure they're of legal tread depth and without damage.
Suspension: Check that it's functioning adequately.
Rust Inspection: Examine vital mounting points and brackets. Note: MOT Testers won't remove any car parts, including the aerodynamic panel beneath most EVs.
Brake Pads & Discs: Both should be in good condition, as is the case with any other vehicle.
EV Battery System: Inspect for any visible damages or leaks and ensure secure connections.
Charging Port: Ensure it's not damaged and functions correctly.
Error Codes: Scan for any electrical fault codes specific to electric vehicles.
The Difference Between EVs and Traditional Cars in MOT
The primary distinction for electric vehicles (EVs) during MOTs is that they don't undergo exhaust emissions tests. This is because electric cars lack exhaust emissions. Instead, the focus shifts to a battery inspection test, examining the battery system's health, its connections, and protection from potential damage.
Electric vehicles are also exempt from the noise test, given they don't possess a combustion engine that generates noise.
However, some standard MOT tests differ for electric cars. For instance, electric vehicles employ regenerative braking, which captures energy from the wheels to recharge the battery. This can extend the battery's lifespan and range. But it also makes the batteries more susceptible to corrosion from underuse, so MOT tests specifically check for these issues.
Additionally, MOTs for EVs may include unique electrical fault codes. Technicians should be trained to recognise and diagnose these specific codes.
In terms of risks, electric vehicles pose no more inherent risk than conventional vehicles. Nonetheless, there's a theoretical risk associated with the high voltage used in electric cars.
What's Changing with MOT Tests for Electric Cars
The Department for Transport (DfT) is considering revising the inspection procedures for hybrid and electric cars, believing that the current tests may be insufficient. (Source: Times)
Interesting fact: Over the past five years, 507 electric cars caught fire in London alone. This underscores the importance of meticulous battery health checks.
Given that electric cars function differently from traditional petrol or diesel vehicles, it's evident that MOT tests need modifications to assess electric vehicles more effectively.
Benefits of Regular Maintenance for Electric Cars
The primary advantage of regular check-ups is that they can pinpoint and rectify safety concerns before they escalate into significant problems. Furthermore, consistent maintenance can extend the vehicle's lifespan, especially that of the battery. This care also contributes to a higher resale value for the car.
While the foundational principles of the MOT test are consistent for both traditional and electric vehicles, there are distinct aspects tailored for EVs. Regular maintenance, combined with a comprehensive understanding of the MOT requirements for electric cars, guarantees drivers' safety, enhanced longevity, and peace of mind.
Electric Cars MOT FAQs