Motability and electric vehicles

Electric cars are available on the Motability scheme. Here's what you need to know.

Disabled badge holder parking sign

VW

Car ownership can be tricky for disabled people. For one, new cars aren’t cheap to purchase, and many can be unsuitable for those who require the fitment of special controls or an easier way of entering the vehicle.

This is where the Motability Scheme comes in. A charity organisation working together with the Department for Work and Pensions, it aims to help disabled people with their car purchase and, if necessary, conversion so they can get safely behind the wheel. Motability also takes care of the cost of insurance, breakdown cover plus servicing and maintenance, removing another stress factor from owners.

In short, Motability works by providing cheaper lease deals for disabled people, their families and carers, and aiding with the cost of vehicle conversion. The deals are in part financed by the Higher Rate Mobility Component (HRMC) of a recipient’s Disability Living Allowance, or by Personal Independence Payment.

Those receiving a War Pensions’ Mobility Supplement or the Armed Forces Independence Payment are able to lease a vehicle via Motability as well.

The past few years have seen some electric vehicles included in the scheme, giving buyers more choice than before on the type of car they can purchase. Read on to find out how electric vehicles combine with the Motability Scheme.

Current electric vehicles offered under Motability

At the moment there are no pure battery electric vehicles offered under Motability, but there are several hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models that you can choose from.

The easiest way to find them is to go to the car search tool on Motability's website at and, in the fuel type category, select ‘Other’. This will display all the available hybrid and PHEV models.

Currently it’s possible to purchase the following vehicles in various trim levels:

- Toyota Prius Hybrid
- Toyota Auris Hybrid
- Toyota Yaris Hybrid
- Toyota C-HR Hybrid
- Kia Niro Hybrid
- Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
- MINI Countryman PHEV
- Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Choosing the right car depends on your own personal circumstances. If you don’t have easy access to parking, or otherwise cannot charge a plug-in car, then a hybrid model would be more suitable.

Hybrids make especially good sense in town centres and cities, where the stop-and-go traffic helps recharge the battery. This gives the car added electrical range and improves its overall fuel economy.

It’s also important to think about whether you need a small or a big car, and the kind of cabin space you’ll require. Again, this may limit the suitable hybrid and plug-in vehicles available.

Before picking a vehicle, make sure you’re eligible within the scheme. To find out, visit Motability's website.

Once you’ve picked the right car, contact the Motability Scheme specialist at your local dealership. They will then place the order. Do note that you will need to have at least 12 months remaining on your Mobility allowance when placing the order.

How much you have to pay will vary per car. Over 200 cars cost less than your mobility allowance, meaning either the Department for Work and Pensions or Veterans UK will pay the remaining allowance directly to you.

For other models, you will either have to give up all of your weekly Mobility allowance, or pay a one-off up-front Advance Payment for cars that exceed the allowance.

Unfortunately, many of the hybrids and PHEVs come with an Advance Payment of between £99 and £2,000.

Why aren’t there more electric vehicles included in the Motability Scheme?

Although there are over 2,000 different cars to choose from, one of the reasons fully electric cars are not yet included is because of cost. Motability has a maximum pre-VAT price ceiling of £25,000, for cars to be eligible under the scheme.

While some electric vehicles fall well below this, including the Renault ZOE and Nissan Leaf, another reason for not including fully electric cars is their limited range.

Motability says that fully electric cars aren’t included because “as they have to be recharged regularly, they are not suitable for everyone. Electric cars can travel a certain distance before needing to be recharged, and in order to have a home charging point fitted, you will need to have access to off-road parking, such as a private driveway or garage.”

The Government has, however, been conducting research into introducing fully electric vehicles to Blue Badge holders and those on Motability. The study found that electric vehicles can bring cost savings to disabled people and create a more peaceful driving atmosphere.

Interestingly, it also found that some disabled people consider the act of plugging in a vehicle to charge to be much easier and more comfortable than using a fuel pump.

However, outside of these, there were no immediate findings to suggest electric vehicles were necessary for Blue Badge holders.

The TfL-run study concluded that: “Once a clearer understanding of how electric vehicles might meet their specific needs is established, there still remains no obvious rationale as to why they are relevant to a Blue Badge audience.

“Beyond the potential money saving (on fuel) and environmental considerations Blue Badge holders feel that driving an electric vehicle/PHEV offers them no fundamental additional advantages beyond what a Blue Badge affords.”

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