Plug-in car grant scrapped, now only benefits pure EVs

12 Oct 2018

Anyone thinking of buying an electric or plug-in car should make a move sooner rather than later after the government announced dramatic revisions to the plug-in car grant.

From November 9th, plug-in hybrid cars will no longer benefit from the grant, which reduces the asking price of the vehicle by thousands of pounds.

Meanwhile, pure electric vehicles will see their subsidy drop from £4,500 to £3,500.

The plug-in car grant was introduced in 2011 to spark interest and demand in electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles and it has been reasonably successful, providing a discount for over 160,000 new ultra-low emission vehicles.

Announcing the revised scheme, the government said the grant had “helped the plug-in hybrid market become more established”, adding that it will “now focus its support on zero emission models like pure electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars”.

Plug-in hybrid vehicles are among the cleanest on the road, and can deliver significant CO2 savings compared to petrol/diesel cars.

The government insists these vehicles will continue to receive support through lower car tax rates, grants for charging infrastructure and local incentives, such as free parking.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of UK automotive trade body the SMMT, viewed the move as counterproductive to its recently announced CO2-reducing efforts.

“We understand the pressure on the public purse but, given the importance of environmental goals, it’s astounding that just three months after publishing its ambitious vision for a zero emissions future, government has slashed the very incentive that offers our best chance of getting there,” he commented.

Rob Lindley, managing director at Mitsubishi Motors in the UK - which sells Britain’s most popular plug-in vehicle - described the sudden decision as “extremely disappointing”.

“We are confident despite the setback that people will still see the benefits of having a 216bhp, all-wheel drive SUV that is also so efficient it attracts low VED, low Benefit in Kind rates for business users and offers huge real-world fuel cost savings compared to conventional petrol- and diesel-powered SUVs,” he added.