18th May 2022

Should EV conversions be registered in a new vehicle class?

With electric cars at the top of the agenda for the UK Government, and conversions for classic cars rising in popularity, a recent poll states 70% of classic car enthusiasts want the Government to recognise EV conversions as their own vehicle class and that the DVLA’s not keeping up with demand or proper documentation.

Converting classic cars to run on electric power and stripping their internal combustion engine and running gear has risen in popularity in the last decade. With TV shows dedicated to the conversion process, major UK companies upcycling classic cars into EVs, and with the average cost circa £20,000 - £40,000 for the conversion alone, it’s a growing theme and profitable business case.

To date, however, only modern EVs are classed as an EV on their official registration documentation (V5C), and the classic car community, through a poll by FJ, voted that this naming and documentation should change. Instead of classic cars continuing to have their internal combustion engine and designation, 70% of (more than two out of three) respondents said that the DVLA should class them as a new class of vehicle.

Managing Director of Footman James, David Bond said: “EV conversions are dividing the classic and collector industry and our clients. With modern EVs counting for 64,000 in registrations this year alone*, electric power is a small but growing sector. This is spilling out to classic owners who are also choosing to swap from petrol power to battery power. Classic cars by their nature are increasingly restored, modified and upgraded but interestingly, from the majority of our responders, converting from the internal combustion engine (ICE) to electric requires more official recognition.

“From the results of this poll, it looks like our audience want there to be a change and move to recognise EV-converted classic cars by the DVLA on the V5, and look at the green marking on the registration plates to show that they are powered by electricity.”

The poll, conducted by specialist and collector car insurance provider, Footman James, saw over 1,300 respondents. The official question asked was:  As it stands, modern electric vehicles have their own DVLA classification and classic vehicles are given the historical class when they hit 40 years of age. But what should happen to electric classic conversions? Should they be recognised independently on a V5C, as a new class of vehicle?

1,355 people voted via an email poll. Of those, 942 people selected YES (69.52%) and 413 people selected NO (30.48%).

What are your thoughts? We'd love to hear them in the comments below.

Source: *www.rac.co.uk/drive/electric-cars/choosing/road-to-electric

When we built a kit car it had to have a sva report and was put on a q plate as over 50 pessent of the car was not original just think considering classic cars to electric is wrong only original once would not think about doing this to my car

Bart, 29/07/2023

Why single out electric conversions? Shouldn't all modified classics be changed? Is my LPG converted Series 2 Landy still a "Historic"? Or my mate's Series 3 that's been converted to V8 petrol and dumped the diesel?

Dave, 01/06/2022

When is a classic not a classic? When it's powered by batteries of course. The taxation class of historic vehicles then does not apply nor should it. (until in 40 years fusion power takes off HA HA) To go with an upgrade to extra power all the running gear etc needs an upgrade also, so that means your historic vehicle is no longer historic and should be taxed at the going rate have an MOT regardless of its age as it is a modern vehicle in every sense, apart from the shell. You can't have your cake and eat it. Just sell your classic and buy a modern EV if that is what you want. So as for a separate taxation class NO. Modified it then becomes a kit car not a classic and treated as any other kit car.

captain sensible, 31/05/2022