Owners of electric cars could soon face a ‘pothole tax’ for driving heavier vehicles, despite being currently exempt from paying anything.
EV experts at LeaseElectricCar.co.uk are warning drivers that although they are currently exempt from paying tax until 2025, new charges could come in sooner to cover costs of road repairs if a government think tank’s findings are acted upon.
Government think tank, the Centre for Policy Studies, have recently reported that the UK road network cannot handle the weight of EVs, which is putting strain on surfaces to cause more potholes.
Some are proposing a new ‘pothole tax’ could be enforced for electric cars to help combat and pay for bad road surfaces.
Because of their lithium, lead and metal armoured batteries, EVs can weigh up a third more compared to petrol and diesel cars – with one battery weighing around 500 kg – the equivalent of an adult camel or grand piano.
All this extra weight is putting pressure on UK roads is causing an increase in surface damage and potholes.
The problem mostly exists for unclassified roads – those which do not have a ‘M’, ‘A’ or ‘B’ letter assigned, make up the majority of the country’s road network, such as residential or local traffic lanes.
These roads are not designed to handle the increasing number of heavy EVs we’re seeing up and down the country.
Many of the so-called unclassified roads are marked ‘unsuitable for HGVs’ partly because the roads are narrower and bendy, but also because the surfaces cannot handle heavy vehicles constantly driving along.
And with an increase in heavier cars using these roads, some claim that EVs are only making existing weaknesses worse.
Under current government proposals, new EV vehicle exercise duty charges are set to be introduced in 2025.
Although vehicle exercise duty doesn’t currently contribute to road repairs, drivers of heavy EVs could be charged a ‘pothole tax’ in order to offset costs of road maintenance.
The average cost of filling in one pothole in the UK sits at around £45.83, with one being repaired every 19 seconds.
Although this may seem a lot, recent estimates show it would take over nine years and £12 billion of funding to repair all of the potholes on the UK road networks.
In the recent budget the government also announced an extra £2 million to be spent on highway maintenance and potholes in the next year.
However, despite current funding, the number of potholes is only increasing, partly due to the growing amount of heavy vehicles driving along roads which haven’t been designed for the weight.
Tim Alcock from LeaseElectricCar.co.uk warned EV drivers could soon be charged a ‘pothole tax’ – a levy imposed on motorists of heavier vehicles to offset road repairs.
He said: “Recent reports are showing that an increase in heavier electric vehicles on the roads compared to normal petrol and diesel cars could be having a bad impact on our road network.
“Currently EVs are completely exempt from paying any road tax, but this will change from 2025 to match other tax-paying vehicles. Zero-tax will soon no longer be an incentive for drivers to make the switch to electric, despite the government wanting more and more motorists to move away from petrol and diesel.
“Yet with proposals which are considering introducing a new ‘pothole tax’ will likely only decrease the number of Brits having reason to switch to electric.
“Potholes are a massive issue in this country and the highways do need more funding to cover the expense of repair, but if the government wants to achieve its goals of electric vehicles up and down the country, as well as making it more sustainable for the ban on petrol and diesel cars by 2030, more attention must be focused on backing the EV industry rather than discouraging drivers from making the switch to electric by hiking tax.”