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Electric car home charging point grants placed on hold

By raccars Published

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The Government has been heavily promoting the purchase of electric vehicles (EVs), with £5,000 grants and the roll out of an electric rapid charging station network. In February 2013 they supplemented these efforts when the Office of Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV), announced a £13.5 million fund to assist owners of EVs with the installation of home chargers. The scheme pays for 75% of the cost for installation of these chargers, up to a maximum of £1,000. OLEV has said that the funding would be provided until March 2015 or until the fund ran out, which would happen after the installation of around 13,500 charge points.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), around 10,000 EVs have since been sold, which means that the fund will not be able to support many more EV buyers. A review of the home charge grant scheme was supposed to take place in early June, but no announcement has yet been forthcoming as to the result of that meeting. This means that suppliers of domestic EV charge points and customers are being left in limbo, with the companies unable to process any further orders or install much-needed charging points.

Domestic charge point installers have informed customers of the delay. Elm EV, for example published this statement on their website: "The Domestic EV charge point grant was up for ministerial review at the beginning of June and regretfully we had to postpone all of our appointments. We apologise for all inconvenience caused by this and we can say we would not have done this, had it not have been for matters out of our control."

They were joined by Phoenix Works, who said: "We’re waiting on OLEV to make an announcement, until then we are holding fire on orders for domestic chargers."

Industry observers believe that the Government will eventually agree to extend the scheme, as a key component of its £500 million investment programme, for the promotion of EVs to be implemented between 2015 and 2020. At the moment, however, both supplier and customers have been left hanging. OLEV has yet to comment on the delay in confirming the future of the grant scheme.

It will seem strange to many supporters of EVs that the Government has allowed such a pause to occur. The uptake of EVs has so far been much slower than the Government’s own targets and such problems can only damage momentum.

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