Powered Light Vehicles

Powered Light Vehicles (PLVs) is the collective term for a range of two, three and four-wheeled vehicles for either passenger or cargo use. Their compact size and light weight ensures optimal use of available road space and as they are predominantly powered by zero and low emission powertrains they offer an efficient, clean and practical form of personal and commercial mobility.

Under EU regulations PLVs are referred to as "L-Category vehicles", where they are subdivided into seven groups, each defined by power output, number of wheels, seating layout and weight. Collectively, these vehicles provide clean and efficient transport in cases where walking, cycling or public transport are not viable options.

The sector has the ability to complement active travel (e.g. walking and cycling as an alternative to motorised transport) and public transport while displacing inefficient personal travel (single or low occupancy car use). They can also provide an alternative to trucks and large vans that are often using a fraction of their available load capacity.


L-category vehicles are a classification of road transport vehicles that range from powered two/three-wheelers (motorbikes, mopeds etc), quadricycles and 'micro cars'. Motorbikes and scooters account for the largest part of the UK market for L-category vehicles (approx. 1.2m powered two-wheelers registered on the road, compared to just over 600 quadracycles at the end of 2018). Although there are relatively few L-category vehicles compared to M and N categories (passenger cars and light goods vehicles with at least 4 wheels), they are much smaller, lighter, take up less road space and offer an innovative alternative to the passanger car, particularly for urban road transport.

L-category vehicle classification diagram

Zemo Partnership (as LowCVP) and a consortium of British universities undertook an assessment of the potential environmental, economic and societal benefits of L-category vehicles in the UK, focusing more on the larger three and four wheel end of the L-category spectrum of vehicles, dubbed 'Powered Light Vehicles'.

The overriding conclusion of this study was that, while there are benefits to the UK of developing a market for these vehicles, there remain a number of issues where further research, development and demonstration (RD&D) is required.

Zemo Partnership seeks to take forward the areas of RD&D through a number of project groups which will seek funding from the UK Research Councils and other funding bodies. Zemo Partnership hopes to provide a forum for sharing this information between the groups and will provide advice and information on the outcome of these projects to Government to inform future policy in this area.

Powered Light Vehicles: The Opportunities for Low Carbon L-Category Vehicles in the UK

With growing interest in the field, Zemo Partnership formed the Powered Light Vehicle Consortium (PLVC), bringing together a range of stakeholders over the years to impartially assess the potential opportunities and actions required for L-Category Vehicles, dubbed Powered Light Vehicles (PLV) to penetrate the UK transport market. 

This study identifies the potential for Powered Light Vehicles (PLVs) to play a significant role in providing lower impact mobility for UK citizens in the future, particularly in urban areas. It concludes that there is a substantial economic opportunity for companies involved and - in broader industrial terms – for ‘UK Plc’ in nurturing this market. 

PLV Report

Background Reports

The summary report is an abridged version of the assessments conducted by the individual PLVC members over the last few years, which will also be made available shortly to download for background information. These reports are not intended as an end in themselves, but instead to act as a spur to action. To build upon the UK’s capability in ultralight automotive engineering and to provide the right conditions which support the market for Powered Light Vehicle uptake.