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ULEVs: What Are They?Back

By 2040, the government is aiming that every new car registered in the UK will be a ULEV.

But what are they?

ULEVs, or ‘ultra-low emission vehicles’, are vehicles which emit less than 75g of CO2 per kilometre from the tailpipe, and are capable of operating in zero tailpipe emission mode for a distance of at least 10 miles.

With low emission technology becoming ever savvier, we are seeing the introduction of more and more of these vehicles on our roads. 2015 saw the registration of 28,188 new ULEVs: while this only represents 1.07% of all new vehicle registrations of the same period, the growth rates are impressive. There was a 253% increase in ULEV registration in Quarter 2 of 2016 when compared to the same period two years prior.

Shifting attitudes towards greener vehicles and new legislation which will impact our driving habits means that there is an ever prevalent requirement to invest in and embrace this technology.

Most ULEVs on the roads today are powered solely or in part by alternative fuels such as electricity and hydrogen to drive an electric motor. So while you might expect that all ULEVs are completely electric, provided that the emissions are less than 75g of CO2/km, hybrid configurations can also qualify.

ULEVs can generally be subdivided into 4 categories:

  1. BEVs, or battery electric vehicles, are solely powered by an electrically charged battery.
  2. PHEVs, or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, use a combination of a plug-in battery and an internal combustion engine (ICE). Once the pure electric capacity is used, the vehicle reverts to its hybrid mechanism.
  3. E-REVs, or extended-range electric vehicles, are very much like BEVs but incorporate an on-board generator to extend their shorter battery range.
  4. FCEVs, or fuel cell electric vehicles, use hydrogen gas stored in a pressure tank as fuel to power the motor.

The distance a ULEV can travel on a full charge depends on which of these mechanisms it uses to derive its power. Ranges are typically reported to be from around 100 miles for a BEV, to in excess of 300 miles for an FCEV. Whilst terrain and driving style can also impact these distances, ULEVs are still a viable option for a huge proportion of UK drivers, who travel on average just 25 miles a day. Some 29 ULEVs are already on the UK market, including the award-winning Nissan Leaf and BMW i3.

The decarbonisation of private and commercial vehicles is essential for the UK to meet its climate change obligations and to improve air quality in major cities. Incentives include a grant of up to £4,500 towards the cost of a new eligible ULEV, and subsidised costs of installing a chargepoint at home via the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme.

The vast investment in low carbon automotive technologies and incentives to encourage their implementation means that there has never been a better time to consider thes
e cleaner alternatives.

For more information about ULEVs and the general issues surrounding their use, please click here to visit the Energy Saving Trust website.



Trusted Dealers have partnered with the Energy Saving Trust to host a number of special ULEV events, led by industry experts, in six cities across the UK. To find out more and to register your interest, click here.

Posted by Maddie Parker on 12/04/2017