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I've used the above headline very deliberately. The headlines on local news outlets have been very negative regarding the proposed changes to vehicle duty. Manx Radio went with "Prepare to pay higher road tax", IOM Today have "Car tax hike shelved", Energy FM have the more neutral "DoI withdraws new car tax pricing system" but focus on the increases in the short article. Only 3FM looked at the positive aspect in their original Feb 16 article "Electric vehicle supporters welcome tax slash".

Reading through the proposal there would be an increase for many car owners with vehicles taxed on engine size, if first registered before 1st April 2010, of between £1 and £31. However, most articles and discussions on social media ignore the benefits for owners of EVs, commercial vehicles, motorcycles, classic cars and welfare vehicles. The proposed increases affected older vehicles taxed on their engine size, with those taxed on emissions seeing zero or small increases. Although, strangely, the higher emission band saw a decrease.

The new proposal was by no means perfect but EVIOM were glad to see some progress from an EV perspective, which this blog is unapologetically biased toward.  The existence of modern zero emission EVs had been acknowledged and EVs registered in category 'L' were to pay £0. Whatever you call it, this is a "road tax" and there is the question of whether EVs should be exempt. In answer to that we'd say that once more than half the vehicles on the road are zero and/or ultra low emission it won't be sustainable to have a zero or very low rate of duty. However, we are a very long way from that tipping point and until we get there cleaner vehicles must be encouraged for the sake of health and the environment locally and globally.

The Order was withdrawn by Minister Harmer as he thought the majority of the Legislative Council would vote against it. It would seem that government isn't willing to make changes that could prove unpopular with some and again prove the lack of commitment to environmental issues and reducing emissions.

The Department has outlined the principles behind its proposals and supplied supporting information, comparisons and examples. However, it is clear that some Tynwald Members still have questions, so I am happy to organise a briefing to provide a fuller understanding of the changes and the alternatives

Infrastructure Minister Ray Harmer MHK

To be clear, EVIOM has at no point asked for EVs to be exempt from paying any kind of duty. What we have been asking for is parity with other vehicles of the same type but propelled by other means. To us it would make sense to categorise a vehicle, such as the Nissan Leaf, as category B in the lower emissions band. Once the older, more polluting vehicles age out and are removed from our roads the duty paid for this band would have to increase to maintain revenue for the island's road infrastructure.

Ideally EVIOM would have liked EVs to be categorised by the type of vehicle they are rather than all lumped together. Also, some government documentation states that a driver must be over 21 to drive a vehicle in category 'L'. These are issues the DOI had not addressed in this new proposal, but we hoped this would be the first step.

EVIOM has also been made aware that it's a bit of a lottery when registering an EV or PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle), with some vehicle owners paying five times more than others for the same car! It does seem very strange to us that the category of a vehicle for the purposes of both taxation and driving licenses should be open to interpretation.

As always, please leave your comments below.


In an attempt to seek a balance between supporting local business and protecting the environment the Department of Infrastructure will be revising the charges for vehicle duty on the Isle of Man. In the April sitting of Tynwald Minister Ray Harmer MHK will bring the proposed measures before Members.

Most of the proposed changes relate to decreasing the amount paid by commercial vehicle operators on the island a well as attempting to better align duty paid based on engine capacity to that charged on CO2 emissions.

EVIOM has, for a number of years, been campaigning for a favourable change in duty paid by zero emission electric vehicles. It has been our view that EVs should pay duty based on emissions in the same way that other vehicles do. So we are pleased to report that the Vehicle Duty Order 2017 will include an exemption for zero emission electric vehicles.

The revenue collected from vehicle duty contributes to the millions of pounds invested in the road network, which in turn supports the economic success and social wellbeing of our Island

Ray Harmer MHK

We believe that applying a zero rate of vehicle duty for zero emission vehicles is the right move, at this time. Briefly skimming the comments section of articles reporting on this, it's clear a few don't agree. Money does need to be reinvested into the road network from vehicle duty and the most polluting vehicles should be discouraged by a higher rate paid. A zero rate for emission free vehicles can't be applied indefinitely. When the majority of vehicles on the road become ultra low or zero emission the Department will have to re-assess and re-balance the amount paid by different vehicles types. We are a long way off that majority and right now less polluting vehicles must be encouraged in some small way.

EVIOM would advise all pure battery electric vehicle (BEV) owners on the island to double check the vehicle category their car or motorcycle is registered as, so that the exemption is properly applied. It has become clear that BEVs have been categories and taxed a variety of different rates from year to year. So check your tax disc and log book to make sure they are correct.

Please leave your comments below to tell us and others what you think about these changes.

Source: Isle of Man Government press release and

One question we often get asked at EVIOM is how many Electric Vehicles there are on the Isle of Man. We've asked Vehicle Licensing a few times over the years recently we got the figures sent though. It's tough to know the exact number as not all vehicles are Manx registered due to being recently imported or maybe if someone has a UK address a car would be registered there to benefit from the UK's Plug-in car grant. Other issues with counting EVs is that the vehicle categories used when registering on the Isle of Man. Some EVs seem to end up being registered as Category B, some Category L and some hybrids seem to have made it through to Category L regardless of whether they have a plug or not.

All this makes a true count impossible but we can report on the number registered as an 'Electric Vehicles' and Category L. These include cars, vans motorcycles and mopeds all lumped in together.

At present there are 93 registered EVs on the island. There are 63 hatchback cars, 10 vans, 7 motorcycles and 3 mopeds. There are also a handful of vehicles classed as quadricycles and agricultural vehicles along with one very interesting vintage car circa 1916. If the owner of this vehicle would like to get in touch EVIOM would be very keen to take a look. As many makes and models are singular we won't publish a complete list of each but the over 50% of the total are Nissan, 43 Leafs and 8 eNV-200 vans. After that we are into single digits for Peugeot, BMW, Tesla and Renault.

Cars and bikes aren't differentiated, so along with the others we have a total of 10 electric 2 wheelers including mopeds, maxi scooters and the famous Saroléa Manx 7.

Strangely there is at least one or two vehicles on the list that are hybrids of the non-plugin variety so it's strange they make the Category L list but it has become clear that vehicle category can be somewhat hit and miss here on the island. Plug-in Hybrids shouldn't be on this list either and we have no way of knowing how many there are presently. This is a shame as plug-ins are rapidly increasing in numbers on our roads.

It's a small number compared to the large amount of vehicles per head on the Isle of Man. Given many discrepancies in vehicle registration categories, however, it doesn't seem that the count is complete or indeed accurate but does give an indication of the numbers.

If you own or know of any of the interesting or unique EVs on the island please get in touch as we would love to learn a little more about them and you.

Most EV drivers charge their vehicles primarily at home. It's most convenient as it charges overnight while you're asleep and is ready to go with a full battery the next morning. Also, if you're on the Manx Utilities EV Tariff it's cheaper overnight too.

Different vehicles have different types of sockets, charge at different rates and there's plenty of new jargon to learn too. All this can seem a bit daunting especially as one of the main appeals of running an EV is it's simplicity.

Signature Electrical

EVIOM has been contacted by Signature Electrical (formerly Phoenix) who supply and install EV charging stations here on the Isle of Man. They have been in business since 2007 and employ four full time staff, one of whom is an apprentice they are putting through the Isle of Man College apprenticeship scheme.

SE rolec1They are NICEICregistered, this means their work is inspected annually and all work is backed by NICEIC’s six year guarantee.
Signature Electrical install Rolec charging stations for Nissan/Motability on the island. They also understand the different charging and lead types needed for different vehicles. Before they undertake any works they complete a full site survey to ensure the customer's electrical installation is up to scratch and current regulations and can handle the additional load of an EV point.

SE van2Having an interest in all things ecological and electrical they have decided to go down the route of Electrical Vehicles for the company and have purchased a Nissan e-NV200.

Signature Electrical can be contacted on (01624) 624400 or at  Their website can be found at

As I have come to realise, traveling across the UK in an electric car is full of ups and downs.

imageIt all started well. We collected the car with a full charge from Park's, Irvine with a full charge and a list of post codes for the satnav. No fuss at the dealer. Signed the forms, ran through the basics of the car and headed south. I'd worked out that we had just enough on one charge to get to the rapid charger in Dumfries but along the way we spotted the CYC charger at New Cumnock so pulled in top up and play with the buttons. I was surprised how quickly the car charged as I'd heard that the 2015 Zoe charged slower than previous models.
I really wanted to pull into a charge point along the way in a wind farm, but unfortunately we missed the turning as it was just down a small and tiny road and would have meant doubling back on ourselves. But no to worry there was a rapid charger in Dumfries.

imageWell, there is a rapid CYC charger in Dumfries but the AC charge cable was connecting to a Zoe that had finished charging was locked into the car. I couldn't disconnect it. The car belonged to a company call Co Wheels so I googled the name and found a contact number. The guy on the phone told me that they had a deal with Dumfries council for exclusive use of the charger and no one had the key for the car to come and disconnect the cable. It all sounded like total rubbish to me, they were just monopolising the charger. Plugshare showed a slow charger at Dumfries Royal Infimary, I though it would do for a slight top up as the car was showing 39 miles range for out remaining 29 miles to drive.

Well, that charger was also a bust! None of my RFID cards worked and the charger had no sign or information on how to use it. We decided to give it up as a bad job, grab a bite to eat and head to the Travelodge with an Ecotricity Rapid charger. At least I knew I had all evening and night to get someone to fix it if we had any problems with that one.

imageI love Ecotricty! The charger worked. By the time we'd checked in and grabbed some snacks to munch on while watching Doctor Who a guy in a BMW i3 was sat waiting to charge and Zoe was almost full anyway. It goes to show how many people are using the rapids on the motorways.

I'll have a good whinge to Go Wheels, Charge Your Car and Dumfries Council when I get back home. I may need to do this journey again and the rapid at Dumfries fills a big gap in the area.

Tomorrow's another day and we should have plenty of time to get to Heysham for the 2:15 boat. Fingers crossed...


Diesel was a niche market in Europe until the mid-1990s, making up less than 10% of the car fleet. The sales of diesel cars have now overtaken those of petrol cars in the UK and the same trend can be found in Europe.

d v p

Diesels produce 15% less CO2 than petrol, but emit four times more nitrogen dioxide pollution (NO2) and 22 times more particulates - the tiny particles that penetrate the lungs, brain and heart.

Japanese and American carmakers backed research into hybrid and electric cars, but the European commission was lobbied strongly by big German carmakers BMW, Volkswagen and Daimler, to incentivise diesel. A switch to diesel was said by the industry to be a cheap and fast way to reduce the carbon emissions that drive climate change.

Only a year ago the European Commission started legal proceedings against the UK for failing to address high levels of urban air pollution.

In particular, levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), an emission strongly linked to major respiratory illnesses and premature deaths, are considered "excessive" in many urban areas across the UK. In addition to aggravating existing health conditions such as asthma, research shows air pollution causes around 29,000 premature deaths in the UK every year.

At that time a test of real-world emissions found that 7 out of the 10 cars tested did not meet any of the European standards. It was reported that the UK has some of the worst NO2 levels in Europe.


So the VW scandal comes as no surprise. It has been widely reported, for some considerable time, that most cars do not reach any of the standards advertised by the manufacturers.

Yet we are still incentivised to buy these high polluters through lower taxation and fuel prices.

The oil companies and manufacturers of diesel cars are holding back the take-up of Zero emission vehicles. Is it now time for the Isle of Man government to provide incentives for the cleaner alternative – all Electric Vehicles? Should they also take a long hard look at how their aspiration to reduce emissions is being undermined by the car manufacturer's spurious claims regarding emissions from diesel and petrol cars?

Sources: Next Greencar, The Guardian.

The update to my Quest for a Renault Zoe has been a bit longer in coming to the blog than I had wanted. The problem being the UK plug-in car grant of 35% (to a maximum to £5000) and trying to pay for and register the car to a Manx address. The computer said no...

This was very disheartening, not least because both the dealer and I were clear all along that I was going to be taking the car to the Isle of Man. Buying a new car from the UK shouldn't really be a problem but the way EVs are dealt with seemed throw a spanner in the works. In the mean time Renault had brought out the Renault Zoe "i" models, the "i" signifying that you would own the battery and wouldn't have to pay a battery rental fee. This along with the lack of £5000 grant brought the cost of the car up to nearly £25,000 and outside my budget for lease for hire purchase.

But all was not lost as a call back from Brian at Parks offering me a 2015 model Zoe with only 89 miles on the clock on a PCP deal. This wasn't the original plan but after some thought and advice from my financial advisor (wife) and a few calls with Brian we got the monthly payments down to a level I was happy with.

So right now I'm waiting for the paper work to be processed before booking flights and ferry to go and collect the car from Irvine to drive down to Heysham.

I still don't have the car sat outside my house so no chickens have been counted but I'm quietly confident this time... Maybe.

As for Chargemaster and their offer to install a charge point at my house? No chance. Despite making it clear where I was and them booking an appointment they suddenly realised that they wouldn't, after all, have an installer "in my area". I am now in the market for a 2nd home charge point. The Leaf takes a Type 1 connector and the Zoe a Type 2. The charging standards are the same but it's a round peg, square hole. I also need to be able to charge both cars at the same time overnight.

What I've learnt from this experience is that it would be much better for us here on the Isle of Man when the UK plug-in car grant disappears in the UK or if something similar was introduced here.

If you are looking at a Renault Zoe then I would give Brian at Parks a call as I know he now has experience of selling a Zoe to the Isle of Man and the pitfalls. Other dealers I spoke in the UK were disinterested or confused by the whole idea.

Back in April 2014 EVIOM reported that incorrect fees had been applied to all EVs licenced in the Isle of Man. (See that post here). EV owners found themselves paying car tax at the low emissions band for Category B vehicles. At that time the situation was rectified and refunds were made.


Due to a blunder by the DoI when making the licence review in 2015 EVs were kept at a higher rate than low emission cars. EV owners found themselves paying almost three times the amount of car tax than for petrol/diesel/hybrid cars.

So if you own a fully electric car you would pay £14.00,  whilst owners of a BMW i8 or Toyota Previa, for example, only pay £5.00. In fact over the last two years EV car tax has increased whilst polluting car's tax has decreased!

We are told that the DoI "will address the anomaly" in the next duty review but that they "are unable to refund any duty, but will reduce the rate in the new legislation that will be drafted"

EVIOM has suggested that the DoI should change the rate for ZERO emission cars to £0.00.

If this was done, at least for the next two years, it would address the fact that EV owners have paid extra this year and, more importantly, provide a better incentive to drive Zero emission vehicles.

Feel free to write to your MHK if you agree!


So this is Tynwald in action to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050!

It is the opinion of the author that it is time this government woke up to the fact that EVs are here on the island NOW and more and more are being used by island residents, businesses, town commissioners and even government departments. The government should be encouraging the use of EVs by prioritising ANY legislation that would help them achieve their  published emissions target.

The minister recognises the fact that "Ever improving fuel efficiency standards and the introduction into the mainstream market of ultralow emission vehicles are leading us towards low emission transport systems which we need for the future." and that there is a "recent marked increase in fuel efficiency of new vehicles across Europe and the growth in numbers of electric and hydrogen powered vehicles."

But there is no government backing for EVs, and they are just paying lip-service to keep in-step with the international legislation. Making two blunders over the EV car tax in less than two years is inexcusable and shows a lack of commitment to encourage the use of low emission technologies.





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