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What’s the difference between electric vehicle and combustion car MOTs?

In terms of dates in the calendar, one of the least looked forward to has to be the annual MOT. Of course, it’s easy to book an MOT online these days, but it’s also our yearly chance to find out about all the new things wrong with our vehicle and pay for the privilege for said issues to be fixed. The dream is that you and your car come out of the test completely unscathed, but with most of us running around in used cars with more than a few miles on the clock, that’s never a guarantee.

Things could be changing, though, as the landscape of the global car market shifts in favour of electric vehicles (EVs). Newly built, easier to maintain and, most importantly, harbouring no combustion parts to go wrong, EVs could make MOT days that bit less stressful.

Indeed, MOTs will never be the same again once we’re all running around in electric motors, but what differences are there and will there be between the traditional combustion MOT and the EV MOT?

What does a regular MOT involve?

While we’re all very familiar with the concept of the MOT, few of us know or care to know what it actually tests for. So, before we establish the key differences in an EV MOT, we need to know how a traditional one looks. You can get a full run through of a typical MOT via the gov.uk site, but the basic areas it covers off are:

  • Body, vehicle structure and general items
  • Towbars
  • Fuel system
  • Exhaust emissions and exhaust system
  • Seats and seatbelts
  • Doors
  • Mirrors
  • Load security
  • Brakes
  • Tyres and wheels
  • Reg plates
  • Lights
  • Bonnet
  • Windscreen, wipers and washers
  • Horn
  • Steering and suspension
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Electricals

Three key areas to note that an MOT doesn’t look at are the engine, clutch and gearbox.

What differences can you expect from an EV MOT?

Looking at the extensive list above, the first thing you’ll probably notice is that virtually everything on there is still found on an EV, so does the test change much at all?

The answer is no, barring one key area – emissions testing. All EVs are zero emissions with no exhaust system to speak of, so there’s no need to have any testing done there. Beyond that, all the key facets of the MOT you’ve just read about will go ahead, meaning there’s still plenty of stringent checks to be done on your car.

Might we see some further changes down the line?

While only speculative suggestions at this stage, there are a few ways in which the EV MOT could change in the future, as the brand new EVs we’re driving now get older. According to Motoring Research, it’s reasonably likely that a test showing a car can charge safely will be introduced. Furthermore, examining battery discharge at present compared to its new state may also be a worthwhile part of the roadworthiness and safety elements of the test.

In summary, transitioning to electric cars will likely see us enjoy a lot less issues when it comes to on-road maintenance and potential breakdowns, but that doesn’t mean MOTs are off the table. Instead, we can expect to see a largely similar MOT process to the one we know now, just minus the all-important emissions testing elements and maybe the addition of a few key battery related features in the future.

One thing we can hope is that test day is a lot more painless for us all in an electric world.