by Gauk
Tue, Feb 9, 2021 8:30 PM
  • Over two fifths of all motorists believe future MOT should account for source of electricity used by EVs
  • Motorists highlight safety technology which should be added to MOT

As the transition to electric vehicles gains momentum and the focus on charging infrastructure intensifies, a recent study conducted among UK motorists reveals that a significant portion of respondents believe the MOT (Ministry of Transport) test should evolve alongside new technology.

Currently, the MOT test measures emissions from a vehicle's engine, which means that pure electric vehicles are classified as zero-emission vehicles. However, findings from a survey commissioned by Kwik Fit, the largest MOT tester in the UK, indicate that 45% of car owners believe that in the future, the MOT should also consider how the electricity used to charge the vehicle is generated. This percentage increases to 51% among owners of cars less than three years old.

While 27% of owners believe that the source of electricity should not be taken into account during the MOT test, 28% responded that they did not know. Interestingly, younger age groups, particularly those between 18 and 34, were 36% more likely than those over 55 to believe that measuring the source of electricity should be included in the MOT of the future. Additionally, women were 20% more likely than men to support this inclusion.

It is important to acknowledge the practical challenges involved in assessing the electricity used, as it would require information to be transmitted from charging systems to the vehicle and then measured by the MOT testing equipment. This would necessitate the establishment of data standards and significant developments to the testing process.

Eric Smith, MOT scheme manager at Kwik Fit, emphasized the need to ensure that the energy used by electric vehicles is generated as cleanly as possible. He noted that developing the MOT to assess the source of electricity would require the establishment of multi-industry standards, and that the MOT test might not be the most effective method to ensure drivers opt for cleaner energy. However, he acknowledged that the research highlights the belief of millions of drivers that overall emissions for electric vehicles should be assessed in some way. Smith suggested that the initial change should be the inclusion of emissions testing for hybrid vehicles, as they currently are not tested despite running on petrol or diesel for a portion of their operation.

In addition to the topic of electric vehicles, the Kwik Fit study explored other technological advancements in modern cars and whether they should be incorporated into the MOT test. Over half of the respondents (52%) believed that emergency braking systems, which automatically apply the brakes when approaching another vehicle too closely, should be included in the MOT if they are installed in the vehicle. Approximately one-third of respondents (33%) expressed that radar, sensors, or cameras used for autonomous driving systems should also be checked during the MOT, while 30% felt that lane assist technology should be part of the test.

Other notable suggestions included the inclusion of start-stop technology (26%), parking sensors (26%), and parking or rear-view cameras (24%) in the MOT test.

Interestingly, the study found that individuals who have experienced an MOT failure are more inclined to support the development of the test. Respondents who had a car fail its MOT within the past three years were 15% more likely to believe that safety features or driver aids should be included in the MOT, compared to those who did not experience an MOT failure during that time. This suggests that individuals who have faced MOT failures have a greater appreciation for the test's role in vehicle safety, as it helps identify issues with components they rely on.

Overall, the study reveals a growing sentiment among UK motorists that the MOT test should evolve alongside advancements in technology, particularly in relation to electric vehicles and emerging safety features. The findings highlight the need for ongoing discussions and considerations regarding the future direction of the MOT test to ensure it remains effective and relevant in an evolving automotive landscape.

Table 1: Driver views on testing technology in the MOT

Safety technology / driver aid

Proportion of drivers believing this should be tested in the MOT when fitted to a vehicle

Emergency braking systems (technology which applies the brakes automatically in case of emergency or getting too close to the car in front)


Any radar or other sensors used for autonomous driving systems


Any cameras used for autonomous driving systems


Lane assist technology (technology to ensure a car does not drift out of lane)


Start stop technology


Parking sensors


Parking or rear-view cameras


None of the above


Source: Kwik Fit, 2021

Eric Smith said: “It’s important that the MOT does not become overcomplicated and focuses on checking the most important elements in vehicle safety.  However, motoring technology is continually advancing and the MOT has always been developed to reflect that.  As more and more drivers have new technology in their vehicles, it is natural that they will get used to relying on these driver aids, therefore it is essential that these are regularly checked to ensure they will work properly in an emergency.”

Kwik Fit is also highlighting to motorists that there is no MOT exemption for this lockdown and therefore any cars whose MOT is expiring needs to pass a new test.  The current government guidance is clear that it is lawful to leave home to get an MOT, and that cars need an MOT if they are going to be used during lockdown.3

As essential businesses, Kwik Fit centres have remained open during the lockdown, and the company advises that we are approaching one of the peak periods of demand for MOTs.   Drivers should therefore book as far in advance as possible, rather than hoping to get an appointment at the last minute.  Kwik Fit is the UK’s biggest MOT tester and has expanded its online booking service to provide even more options to drivers.

published by Gauk