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Is EV for me? Private hire vehicles

Is an electric PHV worth it?

Of course we want you to go electric, but we don't want you to make a bad investment. It's too important. So, should you go for it?
Here's our two-minute guide.

YES, it's a no-brainer

If you drive more than 25,000 miles a year in your PHV and have off-street parking.

Traffic light coloured indicator dial in the green zone
  • It can work out as low as 5p per mile to run an electric car as a PHV.

  • If you drive 475 miles or more in an average working week (25,000 miles a year), fuel savings will more than pay for it.

  • For this mileage, an electric MG5 could save you around £2,200 in whole life costs* over three years compared to a diesel VW Passat.

  • If your house has a garage or driveway, or your private hire company base has a charger, overnight charging will save you the most money. It can be as low as 5p per kWh, compared to an average daytime electricity price of around 17p per kWh.

  • You can get up to £350 per socket from the government to help install charging points with a Home or Workplace Charging Grant.

  • If you make lots of short trips, that’s hard on engines. Electric vehicles are more reliable and cheaper to maintain than petrol, diesel and hybrid cars. You can expect to save about 25% on your garage bills.

Read on to find out how much you could save, how to get a charging point installed at home or your workplace and what grants are available.

* Figures are based on buying an electric car outright and charging, maintenance and 'road tax' costs over three years.

YES, but check the numbers

If you drive 20,000+ miles a year with lots of short journeys, it's probably going to save you money, even if you have to plan your charging routine. This is especially true if you don't have a Euro 6 diesel at the moment.

Traffic light coloured indicator gauge in the orange zone

It's probably worth your while to go electric as a Clean Air Zone is coming to Greater Manchester. This means that owners of older, more polluting private hire vehicles would pay a daily charge to drive anywhere in Greater Manchester.

Greater Manchester’s ten local authorities are also due to introduce common PHV and hackney Minimum Licensing Standards in the near future. These will include minimum engine emission standards.

And, if you don't have off-street charging, we’re installing 60 rapid Be.EV public chargers across the region for the exclusive use of Greater Manchester-licensed private hire and hackney drivers. These can charge an electric car up to 80% capacity in 45 minutes.

Read on to work out where you can recharge your electric PHV if you don't have off-street parking at home or at work, details of the Clean Air Zone and Minimum Licensing Standards, and for other factors that could swing your decision either way.

PROBABLY NOT (yet)

Hmmm... for most PHV drivers, going electric will save you cash. So it's still worth thinking about.

Traffic light coloured indicator gauge in the red zone

If you regularly take fares for a couple of hundred miles or more, stopping at a charging point to top up might be difficult. But more EVs are offering 300+ mile-range and costs are coming down, so it’s worthwhile keeping up to date with what’s on the market, which could change your mind.

Pound sign

So, how do the sums stack up?

You could save £thousands by going electric*

50,000 miles a year – save £11,900

35,000 miles a year – save £4,000

25,000 miles a year – save £2,200

*Figures are based on buying an electric car outright and charging, maintenance and 'road tax' costs over three years.

Of course, your exact savings will vary - it depends on how you use your vehicle. So, where will those savings be made?

Two cars charging

Half the fuel cost

Cost per mile is normally half that of diesel for a similar vehicle. You can work out typical costs with this home-charging calculator.

VED Tax disc

£FREE 'road tax'

Most electric cars are zero-rated for Vehicle Excise Duty (what used to be called ‘road tax’). You can check VED savings here:

Spanners used for car maintenance

Cheaper maintenance

Save up to 25% on your maintenance bills. Electric cars are more reliable than diesel and petrol, especially if you make a lot of short journeys.

Close-up of blue car exhaust and fumes

No Clean Air Zone charges

From 1 June 2023 non-compliant Greater Manchester-licensed diesel PHVs will be charged £7.50 a day to drive in the Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone. Electric vehicles (and Euro 6 diesels) are compliant and grants will be available to help you switch.

Minimum Licensing Standards consultation document

Meet new Minimum Licensing Standards

Greater Manchester’s licensing authorities will be introducing a set of common minimum standards for all locally licensed PHVs and hackneys, including minimum emission standards.

Be.EV taxi membership scheme and exclusive taxi charging points

The Be.EV charging network introduced a tariff on Friday 1 October 2021. Greater Manchester-licensed taxi drivers will soon be able to join a free membership scheme which will give them a tariff discount when using one of 60 new taxi-only Be.EV rapid chargers going live from early 2022.

For more information on the taxi membership scheme, visit the Be.EV website.

Be.EV taxi membership scheme and exclusive taxi charging points

The Be.EV charging network introduced a tariff on Friday 1 October 2021. Greater Manchester-licensed taxi drivers can now join a free membership scheme which will give them a tariff discount when using one of 60 new taxi-only Be.EV rapid chargers going live from early 2022.

Tony saves £100 a week in his EV

“After working the figures out, it was a no-brainer.”

What's stopping you?

Let's talk batteries, range and second-hand electric cars.

What kind of range can I get from an electric car?

  • A typical electric car suitable for use as a PHV, such as a Hyundai Ioniq or Kia e-Niro, can do from 150 up to around 300 miles on a single charge.

  • You could get even more miles by driving smoothly and efficient use of the air conditioning.

  • Greater Manchester has around 70 rapid charging points that can charge a PHV up to 80% in 45 minutes. And we’re introducing 60 PHV/hackney-only rapid chargers in the future.

Will the battery fail or fade out after a few years?

A common misunderstanding is that EV batteries degrade as quickly as they do in your phone.

They don’t.

Most manufacturers offer up to a seven-year warranty on batteries to highlight how reliable they are. And EV batteries are made up of many small cells, so if one is faulty, it can be removed and replaced. You don’t have to change out the whole battery because of a few dodgy cells.

Does cold weather really affect range?

Many people believe that batteries die far more quickly in the cold.

What Car recently put the range loss on cold days at around 10-15 miles on a car with a 160-mile range. That’s less than 10%.

It's not as big a problem as you might think - unless you're planning to drive to the Arctic circle.

And did you know that you can pre-heat electric cars before you set off? You can heat the interior while charging and save the battery for the journey. Once it’s warm enough, you just need to maintain the temperature rather than use the battery to get to the level you want.

Should I buy second-hand?

EV batteries last much longer these days and the second-hand market is growing.

A three-year-old Hyundai Ioniq with 35,000 miles on the clock will set you back around £16,000 to buy outright. It'll have 150 miles of real-life range, costs very little to run and you won’t need to pay a daily charge to drive in Greater Manchester when the Clean Air Zone is introduced. What's not to like?

The most important thing to check is the battery, and there are easy ways to do this. During a service, the manufacturer will always give the battery a health check so, if you’re buying a used electric car to use as a PHV, make sure you see the most recent battery test report.

Don’t forget – many manufacturers are giving battery warranties of up to seven years. Make sure you also get details of the battery warranty and any battery hire agreement which may come with the car.

What if I can't charge up at home or work?

If you don't have off-street parking, charging does get trickier. But modern, public rapid chargers can charge your car in under an hour. And you don't have to fully charge it every time.

You can add 50 miles of range in 15 minutes at a rapid charger. So, with a bit of thought, you can plan this into your schedule and never run out of charge. Obviously, that sounds like a hassle, but compare it to the gains - if you can save £30 on every single fuel stop with a bit of planning, isn't that worth it?

  • More public rapid chargers are going live across Greater Manchester all the time.

  • Many supermarkets now have rapid charging points - stock up and charge up at the same time.

  • Every motorway service has at least one rapid charging point.

To find a map of all the UK's charging points, head over to Zap-Map.

Confused about rapid v fast chargers? Check out our guide to charger types and typical charging times.

Seven years on, still going strong

"It's done almost 60,000 miles since new and is still at 100% battery health. In fact, it's only had new tyres and brake pads in seven years." - Paul Lewis, Travel Planning and Logistics Manager, Manchester Metropolitan University

Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) have had their Nissan EN-NV200 electric van since 2014. The Facilities team originally used it to deliver and collect internal mail between the university's Crewe and Manchester campuses every day - a round trip of about 80 miles. Since the Crewe campus closed in 2018, it's making regular trips to various sites around Greater Manchester.

The van is one of MMU's 14 EVs, and Paul is pleased with its reliability and performance.

MMU EV and Paul Lewis at charging point

How do I get started?

Types of EV

Electric vehicles come in three flavours - 100% electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell. Each has different benefits depending on what you need from your vehicle.

Find the right car for you

From saloons to hatchbacks and estates, there's a huge range of EV models available at prices to suit most pockets. Check out the Go Ultra Low vehicle selector to see what's on the market.

Help installing home or business charging points

The government has grants available for people and businesses looking to install chargers at home or work. You can find out more and apply for a grant at the Office for Zero Emission VEhicles (OZEV) website.

Clean Air Zone grants and financial support

Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Zone goes live on 30 May 2022. Locally-licensed PHVs which don’t meet emissions standards won’t pay a daily charge to drive until 1 June 2023, and funding will be available to help owners upgrade to a compliant vehicle.

More advice

For the latest advice and help to save money on energy, including becoming an EV driver, check out the Energy Saving Trust website.

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