As of 21th October, the grants provided for plug-in hybrids were put to an end. This came 2 weeks before the initial announced date of 9th November, following a huge spike in demand. The Government have also made reductions to the discount on all-electric vehicles, with the £4,500 grant now reduced to £3,500.
What is the Electric Plug-in Grant?
Since 2011, the plug-in car grant established by the government has given those looking to switch to cleaner vehicles a discount, in an effort to reduce the numbers of more polluting vehicles and to help the UK meet its emissions targets. Category 1 cars, with CO₂ emissions of less than 50g/km and a zero emission range of at least 70 miles, were given 35% off the purchase price, up to a maximum of £4,500. Meanwhile, category 2 cars, with CO₂ emissions of less than 50g/km and a zero emission range between 10 and 69 miles, as well as category 3 cars, with CO₂ emissions of 50 to 75g/km and a zero emission range of at least 20 miles, were given a grant for 35% of the purchase price, at a maximum of £2,500.
The grant for plug-in hybrids has now been completely taken away and the grant for EVs reduced by £1,000. The government have labelled the category 1 grant cuts as a representation of the “reductions in the price of electric vehicles”. While the grant for electric vehicles somewhat remains, the Department for Transport (DfT) declined to comment on the long term future of the EV grant, but did confirm it will support the purchase of 35,000 zero-emissions cars.
Industry leaders incensed by the Government ruling
With the ACFO chairman John Pryor labelling the government U-turn as “bonkers”, it is clear to see that the decision has been received with major concern and rage and many industry leaders have had their say on the potential impact of this decision.
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes had his say on the matter:
“The reduction of the plug-in car grant is a major blow to anyone hoping to go green with their next vehicle choice and makes little sense when we need to focus our efforts on lowering emissions from vehicles”.
“With up-front costs still a huge barrier for those hoping to switch to an electric vehicle, this move from the Government is a big step backwards and is in stark contrast to countries like Norway where generous tax incentives have meant that it has one of the highest ownership levels of ultra-low emission vehicles of anywhere in the world.”
The start of an electric car revolt?
Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said:
“The government wants to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars, but scrapping grants for low emission cars may well stall their progress”.
“This announcement will simply put more drivers off from buying greener cars.”
With price already being a major barrier to motorists considering the purchase of cleaner vehicles, has the government’s recent action made their ‘Road to Zero’ pledge of half of all new cars being ultra-low emission by 2030 a dream or delusion?