An Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) is a vehicle that emits less than 75g of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilometre travelled, with a capability of travelling a minimum range of 10 miles with zero CO2 emissions. The Ultra Low manufacturers making electric cars include Audi, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen. These leading vehicle manufacturers are applying the same quality and rigour to their electric models as their petrol and diesel vehicles.

Essentially, there are 5 categories of ULEVs: Hybrid, Plug-in hybrid EV, Battery EV, Range Extended EV and Hydrogen fuel cell

source: ULEV experience

A hybrid car is one that uses more than one means of propulsion – that means combining a petrol or diesel engine with an electric motor. The main advantages of a hybrid are that it should consume less fuel and emit less CO2 than a comparable conventional petrol or diesel-engined vehicle. Examples of hybrid cars: Toyota Plug-in Prius, Toyota Yaris, Honda Civic Hybrid, Lexus RX 400h.

Plug-in hybrid EV
As the name implies, this type of hybrid can be plugged into an electric outlet to recharge their batteries, as well as being charged on the move. Effectively, they are a halfway house between conventional hybrids and fully electric vehicles. Although they have a conventional engine, they also have larger batteries than regular hybrids and can drive longer distances on electric power alone. Examples of plug-in hybrid EV: Toyota Prius, Volvo V60, Mitsubishi Outlander

Battery EV
A battery electric vehicle (BEV) is a type of electric vehicle (EV) that uses chemical energy stored in rechargeable battery packs. BEVs use electric motors and motor controllers instead of internal combustion engines for propulsion. They derive all power from battery packs and thus have no internal combustion engine, fuel cell, or fuel tank. Examples of Battery EV: Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S.

Range extended EV
The range extender vehicle is a battery electric vehicle that includes an auxiliary power unit (APU) known as a ‘range extender’. The range extender drives an electric generator which charges a battery which supplies the vehicle’s electric motor with electricity. The key function of the range extender is to increase the vehicle’s range. Range autonomy is one of the main barriers for the commercial success of electric vehicles, and extending the vehicle’s range when the battery is depleted helps alleviate range anxiety. Examples of Range extended EV: Chevrolet Volt, BMW i3, Cadillac ELR

Hydrogen fuel cell
Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are another type of electric car and have a fuel cell stack which uses hydrogen to produce electricity which then powers the wheels of the vehicle. There is no internal combustion engine in this type of vehicle. The fuel cell is an electrochemical device similar to a battery, but unlike a battery, it does not need recharging and will continue to generate power as long as it is fed with a supply of hydrogen. Fuel cells produce electricity and heat with just water produced at the tailpipe. Unlike battery-powered vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are refuelled at a filling station in a similar way to vehicles with a petrol or diesel engine. The FCEVs on the market have a range of around 300 miles. They take just three to five minutes to refuel and an initial network of 12 hydrogen filling stations is being developed across in the UK to support their roll out. Examples of Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles: Hyundai ix35, Toyota Mirai, Honda Clarity

Those vehicles have different charging systems, essentially there are 2 modes: slow and fast.
Rapid chargers are divided into two sections – AC and DC. Currently available Rapid AC chargers are rated at 43kW, while Rapid DC are typically 50kW. Both will charge an EV to 80% in around 30 minutes. There are two different main connector types for Rapid DC chargers – CCS and CHAdeMO – though additionally, Tesla Superchargers are also Rapid DC and currently charge at around 120kW. Fast chargers cover those with 7kW and 22kW power outputs, which typically charge an EV in 3-4 hours.

Slow units (up to 3kW) are best for overnight charging and usually take between 6 and 12 hours for a pure-EV, or 2-4 hours for a PHEV.

According to ZAP stats (21st September 2018), there are currently 17805 connectors in 6192 locations in the UK. The pie-chart below show the breakdown of charging point connectors in each of the UK regions. The greater London has the most charging points, followed by Scotland and the South-east. The East Midlands region has, so far, 805 charging points (4.5%).

Should you buy an electric car?
According to, there’s no denying that owning an electric car needs more forethought than a conventional petrol or diesel model requires. Even if you’re confident about how to charge your car and how long this is likely to take, journeys that exceed the batteries’ range will require longer or more frequent pit stops than you might be used to.

There are huge advantages though, mainly to do with cost and the environment. Electric cars are extremely cheap to run because their recharging costs are almost negligible, while the fact they don’t emit any nasty pollutants from their exhausts means there’s no road tax to pay. And, of course, their lack of emissions can only be a good thing for our towns and cities. If you buy your electricity from a green provider, recharging becomes more environmentally friendly, too.

It’s important to bear in mind electric car technology is still developing and investment in infrastructure is required. Policies such as London’s Low Emition Zone (LEZ) will be more frequent and electric vehicles will play an important role in this scenario.