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Can electric cars use bus lanes?

Can electric cars use bus lanes?

Electric cars bring an abundance of perks – no congestion charge, lower running costs and free parking in certain areas, to name a few. And with other countries in Europe allowing electric cars to travel in bus lanes, it begs the question – can electric cars go in bus lanes in the UK?

However, the answer is not so simple.

Because while yes, electric cars have previously been allowed to use bus lanes in specific trials across the UK –it is not common by any means. In fact, it is far from the norm for electric cars to use bus lanes.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about bus lanes and electric cars.

electric car driving on the road in the countryside

Can electric cars drive in bus lanes?

In short, it depends on the location and if any local trials are occurring as to whether electric cars can drive in bus lanes. In the past, local councils have trialled electric cars using bus lanes in some regions of the UK in order to encourage EV adoption in the hopes of reducing high carbon emissions.

This isn’t the only way councils are tackling air pollution. With the introduction of Clean Air Zones and Ultra Low Emission Zones, many areas in the UK are finding other ways to decrease high levels of air pollution in cities.

However, nowadays, there are next to no trials running whereby electric cars can drive in bus lanes, with most having come to a close in the past.

That being said, here’s a rundown of previous experiments concerning bus lanes and EVs.

1. Nottingham

First of its kind in the UK, Nottingham led the charge in allowing electric vehicles to use bus lanes in 2018.

In an effort to reduce their high carbon emissions and to ease congestion from the high level of commuter traffic, the Nottingham council permitted Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (or ULEVs) to use the bus lane along Daleside Road, Sneinton.

“Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV)” refers to any vehicle that uses low carbon technologies and emits less than 75g of CO2/km from the exhaust pipe. Broadly speaking, ULEVs include all battery or ‘fully’ electric vehicles, which unfortunately excludes hybrid electric cars from bus lane use.

After the first short-term trial, Nottingham opened another shared bus lane with electric vehicles on Thane Road in 2021. However, the various trials have come with backlash from cyclists, who claim that letting EVs use bus lanes infringes on their safety, as more vehicles in bus lanes pose a more significant threat. Ultimately, the electric car bus lane trials were not expanded further.

2. Cambridgeshire

Another trial commenced in December 2020, running into 2021, whereby Cambridgeshire County Council opened up the bus lane in Elizabeth’s way for fully electric vehicles under an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO).

Similarly to the reasoning behind the Nottingham Council, it’s hoped that it would encourage petrol/diesel drivers to convert to battery electric vehicles by offering an additional incentive to the multitude of advantages already.

a black tesla driving on a road


Although a small handful of locations in the United Kingdom have trialled electric cars using bus lanes in the past, this is not yet a widespread or typical practice. So when it comes to electric cars and bus lanes, the answer is no – electric cars can’t generally use bus lanes. But you can always check your local council to see if trials are taking place in your area.

If you’re an EV driver, it’s best to avoid driving in bus lanes as it’s unlikely you are permitted to be there. And while counties could open up further trials, with the increase in EV adoption and the ban of petrol and diesel cars by 2030, it’s unlikely that bus lanes will be opened up for electric vehicles across the UK.


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Underground cable

We lay SWA cable laid at 600mm deep, with a protective cable warning tape laid 150mm above the cable. These are laid on a sand or sifted sand soil bed then backfilled.

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We position overhead cables at a minimum height of 3.5m and are run along a catenary wire. The cable run should not be accessible to vehicles.

Standard Installation
Our instant price is fixed if it falls within our standard installation package plus any additions that you have selected (extra cabling for example). This package covers the majority of homes in the UK. Before we undertake your installation we will carry out a digital survey to check that nothing has been missed. After reviewing the survey results some additional work may be required in order to complete your installation safely and to the required standards. If this is the case, we will contact you well before the installation date and advise the cost of any required work. You can then continue with your installation, or alternatively we will refund you in full if you do not want to proceed.

Included in our standard installation is :
• Fitting of a single phase charge point to a brick or plaster wall or other suitable permanent structure
• Up to 10 metres of cable, run and neatly clipped to the wall between the electricity supply meter / distribution board and the charge point.
• Routing of the cable through a drilled hole in a wall up to 500mm (20 inches) thick if this is needed.
• The fitting and testing of electrical connections and protections required for the charge point.
• An additional three way consumer unit, if required
• Installation of a Type A RCBO in an RCBO enclosure
• Up to 3 metres of plastic trunking to conceal interior wiring.
• An O-pen earth protection device if the charge point requires it. (This is NOT an earth rod)
• Up to 4 hours of labour from your installer to complete the work.
• Electrical testing of the whole installation.
• Handover and setup of the charge point and any app that may be needed.

Not included in our standard installation (additional work) :
• Where the installation requires additional cabling over and above the amount you have told us about.
• Upgrade/replacement of the main incoming supply fuse where the local DNO (eg Northern Powergrid) would need to attend site.
• If the charge point is to be mounted on a post/pedestal rather than an existing wall and where you have not selected a post as an extra cost option in your order.
• Installation of a charge point to a three phase supply.
• Where gas and water mains bonding (earthing) is not in place at your property. If this is not in place, additional work would be required before installation of the charge point.
• Any groundwork that has not been selected during the order process.

A Surge Protection Device is not included in our standard installation. 

What else you need to know :
• On the day of installation, please ensure that the area around your consumer unit (fuse box), incoming electricity supply meter and proposed charge point location (including where the cable is expected to be run) is clear and free of obstructions.
• We will need your WiFi password as part of the installation process in order to connect your charge point to the internet. Please have this available for the installer. Details will not be kept.
• The charge point must be on your own designated off road parking.
• The charger will be fixed in line with current guidelines at a height where it cannot be hit by a vehicle.
• Our installers are not able to enter loft spaces; lift floorboards or flooring; take apart any furniture of work above a height of 2m. If you anticipate that any of this may be required, then please contact us and we can discuss in more detail and provide you with a quotation.
• Should there be extreme weather conditions our installers may not be able to continue with you installation if it is not safe to do so (for example flooding). They will always do their best to complete the work where they can.

If you have any questions then please contact our customer service team who will be happy to help. Please also read our terms and conditions.