Can I buy an electric car in France and drive it in the UK?

It is perfectly legal to drive a left hand drive car in the UK, though make sure to go through the importation process properly

3 January 2021
By Liv Rowland

Reader question: I now live back in the UK but would like to buy the new electric Citroën Ami car in France. Is it available and can I drive it in the UK?

Yes, it is perfectly legal to drive a left hand drive car in the UK.

For a short-term visit, you just need to buy headlamp adapters which you can stick on your headlamps so as not to dazzle oncoming drivers. These are quite cheap and easily available online.

If you are thinking of importing a car from France to the UK, you will need to go through a specific process before it can be registered, as outlined on the UK government website.

This includes obtaining a conformity certificate from the French manufacturer and, once in the UK, having the headlamps and speedometer altered to fit UK-specific modifications.

However, the DVLA warned that getting approval can be complicated and recommended consulting the manufacturer in France before buying a car to bring back to the UK for good.

Regarding the Citroën Ami, this electric vehicle is being produced – some are already on the road – but deliveries have met with delays because of Covid and other issues. Citroën says you may receive a car within two months of placing an order but will probably have to wait longer.

You might want to think carefully about how to get the car back home.

The Citroën Ami has an autonomy of 70km (around 43 miles), so you will need to make sure there are enough electric charging stations along the way. You can find the location of EV charge stations in France and the UK here: chargemap.com.

The car’s charger is fitted with an ordinary French plug, so once in the UK, you will need an adapter. You can order the car online.

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