Classic car owners ‘divided’ over electric conversion with calls for new vehicle class

Fuel combinations for classic cars explained by experts

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Classic cars which have been converted into electric vehicles have become more popular and common in recent years. According to a new survey, 70 percent of drivers say electric vehicles should be recognised independently on a DVLA V5C certificate, as a new class of vehicle.

Enthusiasts suggest that the DVLA is not keeping up with demand or proper documentation.

Many classic car owners have taken the step to convert their old vehicle and run it as an electric vehicle.

This is done by stripping the internal combustion engine and running gear and replacing it with an electric powertrain.

To date, only modern electric vehicles are classed as an electric vehicle on the official documentation, the DVLA’s V5C form.

Despite this, the classic car community voted that the naming and the documentation of this should be changed to take into account the trend.

Instead of converted classic cars continuing to be identified with their internal combustion engine and designation, more than two thirds of survey respondents said the DVLA should designate them as a new class of vehicle.

David Bond, Managing Director of Footman James, said: “EV conversions are dividing the classic and collector industry and our [Footman James] clients.

“With modern EVs counting for 64,000 in registrations this year alone, electric power is a small but growing sector. 

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“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 to electric requires more official recognition.

“From the results of this poll, it looks our audience want there to be a change and move to recognise EV-converted classic cars by the DVLA on the V5C, and look at the green marking on the registration plates to show that they are powered by electricity.”

TV shows like Vintage Voltage are dedicated to drivers who want to convert their electric cars and upcycle them into electric vehicles.

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The average cost for this process is between £20,000 and £40,000 for the conversion alone, but is becoming a far more popular theme.

“Historic vehicles” are considered to be any cars aged 40 years or older and are exempt from a number of charges.

While they still have to be taxed, they do not have to pay tax on the vehicle, nor do they have to have an MOT, provided there have been no “substantial changes” in the last 30 years.

It is believed that the classic car industry in the UK generates around £18.3billion and employs around 113,000 people, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

There have been calls by some classic car enthusiasts for the Government to introduce a grant or incentive scheme for a conversion.

Currently, prospective EV owners can apply for a Government grant of up to £1,500 off the upfront cost of a new electric car.

Larger grants are available for bigger vehicles like small and large vans, taxis and trucks.

Motorists can also get money off an EV chargepoint through another Government grant.

This provides funding of up to 75 percent towards the total cost of installing an electric vehicle smart chargepoint at domestic properties across the UK.

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