Motoclarity blog image with logo

Electric Vehicles and disability: time to make the switch?

The UK Motability Scheme helps to keep disabled drivers motoring and accounts for around one in every 10 new vehicles registered. In 2018, just 202 of these vehicles were electric, but the tide is quickly turning. In fact, disability motoring website Motaclarity reckons now is a great time to make the switch to electric…

Formed in 1977, the Motability Scheme helps people in the UK with a wide range of disabilities stay mobile by exchanging their government-funded higher rate Mobility Allowance to cover the cost of a brand new car or wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV). With Motability, you can enjoy carefree motoring and a brand new car every three years, and that car can now be electric.

The UK-built Nissan LEAF was the first fully electric vehicle (EV) to join the Motability Scheme back in 2013, giving the scheme’s 600,000 users access to zero-emissions motoring and a range of up to 124 miles on a single charge. Seven years on, the number of electric models available through Motability has risen to 16.

Today, Motability customers can choose from a great range of fully-electric vehicles including the Renault Zoe, Nissan LEAF, the Vauxhall Corsa-e, the Peugeot e-208, the BMW i3, and new Honda E. The advance payment (a one-off, upfront payment often needed to lease a higher value Motability car) required to order many of these new electric vehicles has also fallen in recent months, some by as much as £700*. In fact, the smart forfour EQ, Renault ZOE, and MG ZS EV are all currently available to order with nothing to pay upfront. In just one example, the electric MG ZS EV in the ‘Excite’ trim can now be leased through the Motability Scheme with no advance payment, while the equivalent petrol-powered MG ZS ‘Excite’ automatic requires an advance payment £499.

While the current range of EVs available will not suit everyone with a disability, one clear benefit is that they all come with an automatic gearbox, a feature that roughly 45% of all disabled drivers who lease a car through the Motability Scheme choose, often because they feel they need it to make driving safer and more comfortable. Opting for a conventionally powered vehicle with an automatic transmission almost always costs more, increasing the Advance Payment required to lease the vehicle significantly.

Larger electric vehicles with more boot space have also started to appear on the Motability price guide recently, including the MG ZS EV, Peugeot e-2008, Kia Soul EV, and the Nissan E-NV200 Combi MPV (the first EV that can be ordered with seven seats).

There are other savings that could potentially be made by both the scheme and its customers. The Motability all-inclusive package means that customers only really have to pay for the fuel their vehicles uses, and as BEVs can cost from as little as 1p per mile to drive (compared to 8-10p for conventional petrol and diesel cars) Motability customers could save hundreds of pounds every year. Furthermore, as there are fewer moving parts in an EV, it is estimated they have around 30% lower service, maintenance, and repair costs when compared to their internal combustion engine equivalents.

The savings for disabled drivers and carers don’t stop there. In June this year, Motability announced that their worry-free motoring package would now also include a no-cost charging solution for all customers who ordered a BEV**.

Working in partnership with BP Chargemaster, Motability customers are now able to choose between a free fitted home chargepoint or access to the on-street Polar charging network.

There are, of course, many non-economic factors that are also worth considering. More people want to reduce their environmental impact, and as EVs have zero tailpipe emissions, they offer significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions and will contribute to better air quality. These vehicles would also be able to access low emission zones without any charge, as is already the case in parts of London, with other towns and cities sure to follow.

Government has now confirmed that new cars and vans powered entirely by petrol and diesel will not be sold in the UK from 2030, bringing forward the original date by 10 years. Vehicle manufacturers will be allowed to sell hybrid vehicles that can ‘drive a significant distance with no carbon coming out of the tailpipe’ until 2035. The news was recently announced as part of Boris Johnson’s new 10-point plan for a ‘green industrial revolution’. The faster we can increase demand for EVs, the faster car manufacturers will move to ensure that all their models gain some form of electrification – a positive step forward in lowering greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality.

MotaClarity’s partnership with the government’s Go Ultra Low campaign helps to educate and inform potential EV adopters about the lower running costs, the models available, EV-friendly energy tariffs, and the different types of charging points. There are a range of helpful Go Ultra Low online tools and calculators which are accessible via the MotaClarity website.

As EVs become more mainstream, the costs for disabled drivers will fall while the choice and benefits will increase. While the driving range of EVs improve and the number of public chargepoint connectors in the UK (currently more than 35,000) continues to expand, now could be the right time for many more disabled drivers and carers to join the electric vehicle revolution.

Find your perfect electric vehicle on the Motability Scheme using the MotaClarity electric car search tool today.

About MotaClairity

MotaClarity is a motoring website where drivers with a disability and carers can search and compare great money-saving car and wheelchair accessible vehicle deals.

*the advance payment of the MG ZS EV Exclusive fell from £999 in quarter 3 2020 to £299 in quarter 4 2020

** whilst the charging solution is free, Motability customers are still responsible for paying for the electricity used to charge their vehicle