Do electric cars need MOTs and services?

As electric cars become more common on British roads, more questions about their daily running are cropping up. One such query revolves around electric car services and MOTs: ‘it’s common knowledge that electric cars don’t use as many moving parts as internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, so do they need services or an MOT test?’

Yes, they do need them!

MOT tests are there to ensure that everything on the road is safe, for the driver and everyone else. Of course, in order to ensure this, electric cars will have different test criteria (it doesn’t make much sense to check an electric car’s oil, for example), but the end result will be the same: confidence that every vehicle on the road is safe.

Similarly with services, the main focus is to help prevent catastrophic failures which may cause an accident on the road. Again, they may check/replace different components, but getting your car regularly checked – be it an ICE or electric one – is always a good idea.

But, there are differences between the two vehicle types, and if you’re one of the many who are considering making the switch to electric, then knowing these differences can help you plan when to book in a service or what to expect from your MOT test. 

The differences


The main difference between ICE and electric cars – besides their power supply of course – is the number of moving parts. Internal combustion engines are very clever pieces of engineering; converting miniature explosions into movement requires a good number of very important parts to all be working. From spark plugs to cam belts to gearboxes to plenty of oil keeping everything moving, there is a lot going on. Now electric cars do not have this problem; electricity is much easier to convert into momentum – it just turns the wheels. This means far fewer moving parts – only 20 in an electric car compared to 2,000 in an ICE car!

Now, these parts are still very important and require checking to make sure they are working properly, but having so few of them does have a knock-on effect: services aren’t needed as frequently.

Why is this? Well, fewer moving parts means less parts that can break after all. For example, the service interval for most ICE vehicles is roughly every year or every 10,000 miles travelled. For electric vehicles, however, this time extends to roughly every two years, with some having an uncapped number of miles you can travel in that time period.

It’s important to note that the services themselves will be roughly the same price as for ICE vehicles. This is because, while there are fewer parts, they will require some specialist know-how to inspect them properly (the battery alone has roughly the same voltage as an electric chair!)


For the MOT test, very little will change for electric cars. You will still need to pass an MOT test every year or face a potential fine of £1,000.

Of course, what is tested will change. For electric cars, a major focus will revolve around the battery: it’s the most expensive and potentially dangerous part of the car, so of course that will receive the most attention.

Other components that will receive particularly attention include:

  • The brake pads and discs
  • The high-voltage cables
  • Battery coolant
  • The steering and linkage
  • The drive shaft

Of course, they will check every aspect of your car during an MOT test – that’s what they are for after all – but it is good to know what some of the key problem areas might be when preparing your electric car for its test.

For more on MOT tests, check out our ultimate MOT checklist and guide.

So now you know. Electric vehicles do, in fact, still require services and MOT tests.


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Header image credit: Ralph Hutter via