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Which Cars are Exempt from Road Tax?

As you may be aware, road tax in the UK is calculated based on your vehicle’s CO2 emissions. This is measured in grams per kilometre. The cheapest range payable is for cars emitting 51 to 75g/km, which is £25 for diesel and petrol vehicles meeting this standard, and £15 for alternative fuel cars. Some cars, however, are exempt from road tax altogether. Below we’ll explore several examples of such cars that pay zero in road tax each year.

Special Categories

First, there are a number of vehicle types that are tax free based on special circumstances. These are, briefly:

  • Vehicles operated by a disabled person, or for transport of disabled persons
  • Mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs
  • Historic vehicles – made before 1 January 1980
  • Mowing machines
  • Steam-powered vehicles
  • Agricultural, horticultural and forestry-use vehicles

These are all exempt. To be clear, they do have to be registered for tax, but nothing is actually payable.

Electric Cars

The other special category missing from this list are zero-emission electric cars. Below are some of the electric car leasing models in 2021 that are electric and therefore exempt from road tax. Though electric cars carry higher leasing prices, their exemption from tax helps buyers to absorb some of these costs, not to mention that charging is still cheaper than filling up at the petrol station:

1. Kia e-Niro

This offering from Korean auto giant Kia first arrived back in 2018 and as a compact electric crossover is certainly more at the affordable end of the spectrum. Being exempt from road tax makes it even more affordable to run. It carries a 64kWh battery and an estimated single-charge range of 282 miles.

2. Hyundai Kona Electric

Unsurprisingly, given the two company’s close connection, the Hyundai Kona Electric uses much the same hardware as the e-Niro, including the 64kWh battery. It gets up to 279 miles in range, but also feature a smaller more affordable battery option of 39kWh with shorter range. Factor in the government grants to this one and it’s extremely affordable as electric cars go, and on top of that it’s another tax-free no-emission model.

3. Nissan Leaf

Even when only able to offer low electric range, the Leaf was a popular choice for its reliability and overall quality. The maximum range on the newest model for 2021 can reach 226 miles, which now makes it far more competitive in a market where a typical range is usually more than 150 miles.

4. BMW i3

It does come with a higher price tag, but it’s a BMW, so you get that added high-end quality along with the i3. It’s a compact car, but can still manage up to 195 miles on a single charge. The real added bonus, of course, is that the i3 is absolutely tax free in the UK.

5. Renault ZOE

This is one of the electric cars that is helping to make electric cars affordable enough to be in the mainstream. To look at and drive, it feels like just about any supermini, but it also packs a very respectable 186 miles of electric range in its latest form thanks to updates made to the car in 2018. It’s comfortable, affordable, and yes, free from road tax.

6. Hyundai Ioniq Electric

This one also comes as a hybrid car, but it’s only the no-emission electric model that is exempt from road tax. The Ioniq Electric boasts a range of 182 miles thanks to a larger 38.3kWh battery put in place in 2019. It can also be charged quickly. Getting from zero to 80 percent in under an hour.

7. Volkswagen ID.3

The Volkswagen ID3 is poised to become the most popular electric car in the UK, competing directly with the Tesla Model 3. With a range of up to 336 miles it is amongst the most versatile vehicles in the UK.

8. Jaguar I-Pace

If you are looking for luxury from your electric vehicle then the Jaguar I-Pace is the car to go for. With a dynamic driving style matched to a dedicated electric vehicle platform the I-Pace feels truly futuristic.