Ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs)

ultra low emission vehicles

The UK Government defines Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles (ULEVs) as cars or vans with tailpipe CO2 emissions of 75 g/km or less. £500 million of funding has been put forward by the Government to support their development and uptake in the UK, spanning 2015-2020.

Government and industry are also supporting the Go Ultra Low campaign raise awareness of ULEVs and demonstrate that they are a real choice for motorists today.

Currently, all vehicles that have emissions low enough to qualify as a ULEV are either fully electric vehicles (EVs) or are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).

Types of ULEV

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) have zero tail-pipe emissions as they are fuelled by electricity. All BEV’s have an on-board battery to power the electric motor which is used to turn the wheels. This battery is rechargeable and can be plugged into the mains or public charging infrastructure. Visit the Next Green Car battery electric microsite for more information.

Plug-in-Hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) include both a battery and an internal combustion engine. The battery has a much lower capacity than BEV’s and as a result, electric only range is limited. The internal combustion engine is used to drive the wheels at higher speeds and when the battery has been exhausted. Find out more about plug-in hybrid vehicles on the Next Green Car microsite.

Extended Range Electric Vehicles (E-REVs) fall between plug-in-hybrids and pure electric vehicles, E-REV’s have a plug-in-battery and electric motor similar to those you would find in a battery electric vehicle, as well as an internal combustion engine which is used to recharge the battery once it has been exhausted.

ULEV benefits

While the initial prices for ULEV’s tend to be higher than for conventional vehicles, there are a number of benefits to owning a ULEV.

Most models will be eligible for the plug-in-car grant of up to £5,000 and ongoing running costs should be lower than a petrol or diesel equivalent.

Fuel costs can be as low as 3p per mile and are currently ULEV’s are exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty (car tax) and have low Benefit-in-Kind (BIK) rates, good for company car drivers. For drivers in London, ULEV's are currently Congestion Charge Exempt under the Ultra Low Emission Discount scheme.

ULEV’s also have associated environmental benefits. Many have the option to be or are constantly zero-emission at point of use. This means a reduction in harmful greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and regulated emissions such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulates (PMs). This is especially important in cities where poor air quality caused by road transport emissions is creating a public health issue.

Furthermore, ULEVs tend to be easy to drive, quiet and powerful thanks to high torque electric motors. Regenerative breaking means breaking as generally gentler than in a petrol or diesel vehicle.

Ben Lane

Author:Ben Lane
Date Updated:10th Mar 2015

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