Electric cars are becoming more prevalent on UK roads, and with this comes more manufacturers dipping their toe into the alternative fuels market.
You used to be able to get a helping hand from the government for all types of PHEV's (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) and EV's (electric vehicles), but 2018 reforms, set to be enforced on November 9th, are seeing the maximum grant cut from £4,500 to £3,500.
The decision has been made just months after the transport secretary, Chris Grayling published a strategy to get UK road emissions to zero and promote greener cars.
What Plug-In Cars Qualify?
There are three categories of PHEV or EV cars, if you're looking at buying one it's best to start with which of the three below your car falls into to know which grant you could be eligible for.
Category 1: Vehicles with a range of 70 miles making zero emissions, and a manufacturer quoted CO2 emissions figure of less than 50g/km.
Category 2: Vehicles with a range of at least 10 miles making zero emissions, and a manufacturer quoted CO2 emissions figure of less than 50g/km.
Category 3: Vehicles with a range of at least 20 miles making zero emissions, and a manufacturer quoted CO2 emissions figure of between 50-75g/km.
If the car you're looking at falls into Category 1 then you'll continue to be eligible for the maximum grant of 35% of the car's value up to £3,500. This represents a drop of £1,000 in the grant's value.
Before the reforms, Category 2 and 3 also qualified for a grant so long as they were under £60,000 with the maximum amount able to be saved £2,500. The changes now mean that sadly neither categories will qualify for the PiCG.
How Do I Apply For A Plug-in Car Grant?
The good news is that if your car is Category 1 it qualifies for a PiCG and you don't have to do anything! The grant is deducted from the car's sale price and the dealership does the rest. You might have a quick feedback form to fill in but that is it before you get in the driver's seat.
What Do The Experts Think?
"...the government has reduced the incentive that gives consumers the most encouragement to invest in ultra low emission vehicles..."
Mike Hawes, the chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said: “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 road to zero strategy, the government has reduced the incentive that gives consumers the most encouragement to invest in ultra low emission vehicles.
“Removing the grant for plug-in hybrids is totally at odds with already challenging ambitions for CO2 reduction and sends yet more confusing signals to car buyers."
"We would like to see a measured progressive reduction of vehicle subsidy from now until 2022."
Taking a slightly different stance on the matter, Pod Point’s CEO and Founder Erik Fairbairn (whose company provides charging systems) said “We believe EVs will get progressively cheaper until they hit price parity with petrol and diesel vehicles (excluding any subsidy) by 2022. We would, therefore, like to see a measured progressive reduction of vehicle subsidy from now until 2022.
“Where we do agree with the government is that subsidies should be weighted in favour of full battery electric vehicles (rather than hybrids), along with investment in the necessary infrastructure. So if it’s absolutely essential to make cuts to the grant, we think the Government’s decision to limit it to vehicles that have a minimum of 70 miles zero emission range is a sensible move.”
Those are the industry views on this subject, how do you feel as a driver and taxpayer? Do you think that the ending of this grant will stifle alternative vehicle sales? Or do you feel that you shouldn't subsidise manufacturers? Join the debate and let us know on facebook or twitter.
Meanwhile, did you know, one new Nissan Leaf is sold every 10 minutes across Europe?
Full List Of Cars Eligible For A PiCG
The below cars are all listed in Category 1 so will continue to be eligible for a helping hand after November 12th.
BMW i3/i3s (including Range Extender)
Hyundai Ioniq Electric
Hyundai Kona Electric
Kia Soul EV
Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive
Nissan e-NV200 5-seater and 7-seater
Smart fortwo electric drive
Smart forfour electric drive
Tesla Model S
Tesla Model X