RAC Cars News


UK Government extends plug-in car grant

By raccars Published

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After rumours that the plug-in car grant was to be discontinued next year, the Government has now confirmed that the scheme will be extended to March 2018.

The Government has ring-fenced £400 million to put towards the scheme, which could be extended again as the new deadline approaches. The plan is continue to encourage the uptake of cleaner and greener motoring, with ministers hoping that the number of low emissions vehicles on the roads could treble within the next few years. Thus far about 50,000 plug-in car grants have been provided and the Government hopes that this could rise to 150,000 within the next three years.

Plug-in car grant cut for hybrids

However a fairly significant change has been introduced, which sees plug-in hybrids receive a reduced version of the grant: £2,500 compared to the previous £5,000. The full grant will only go to cars which can claim a range of at least 70 miles completely emissions free, which is essentially electric vehicles. And this has been reduced from £5,000 to £4,500. Transport minister Andrew James claims that the new reduced figure and two-tiered system will enable the Government to sustain the grant on a longer term basis and extend its reach to up to 100,000 more buyers.

Mr James claims that the Government is committed to supporting emerging technologies and the attendant industries created by them. Britain is Europe's fastest-growing market for ultra-low emissions vehicles and the Government is determined to make sure Britain remains at the forefront of research and development into new vehicle technologies.

Officially the terms of the grant offer a 35 per cent discount on the cost of an ultra-low emissions car, with the grant capped at £4,500. However, since these vehicles are so expensive the full grant rarely covers 35 per cent of the cost. A new rule also precludes cars with a list price exceeding £60,000, making them ineligible for the subsidy, regardless as to their emissions status.

The plug-in car grant scheme was launched in 2011 to promote the uptake of ultra-low emissions vehicles in the UK. It was originally due to expire in February 2016. Initially there were only six vehicles eligible under the grant, but manufacturers have been steadily increasing the supply of ULEVs, with five times as many now available. As part of the same scheme, home owners can also apply for a grant of £500 to assist with the cost of installing car charging points in their homes as the Government works towards a goal of making all new cars emissions free by 2050, in accordance with new global emissions reduction targets.

Vehicle manufacturers have openly welcomed the plan to continue with the scheme, having invested huge sums in new, clean vehicle technologies.

The changes are set to take effect from March next year.

What cars can you buy using a grant?

29 vehicles are currently eligible to receive the subsidy but the list is constantly being reviewed as new models enter the market. At the moment the list includes the Audi A3 e-tron, the BMW i3, i8, 225xe and 330e, the Citroen Czero, Ford Focus Electric, Kia Soul EV, the Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive, C350e and S500 Hybrid, the Mitsubishi iMiEV and Outlander PHEV, the Nissan eNV200 and Leaf, Peugeot iON, the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, the Renault Fluence and ZOE, the Smart fortwo electric drive, Tesla Model S, the Toyota Mirai and Prius, the Volkswagen e-Up, e-Golf and Golf GTE and the Volvo V60 D6 Twin Engine and XC90 T8 Twin Engine.

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