UK Government slashes grants for electric vehicles
The UK Government has unexpectedly announced the slashing of grants for electric vehicles. Motoring groups have condemned the action government’s decision to cut subsidies for buying greener cars.
The surprise move comes into effect from 9 November, grants for new plug-in hybrids will be scrapped. Additionally the discounts on all-electric cars will be cut from £4,500 to £3,500.
The cash incentives have been offered since 2011 to help promote cleaner cars and meet emissions targets.
The RAC and AA motoring groups said the change was a backward step. Additionally the SMMT trade body called it “astounding”.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said that the grants for electric and hybrid vehicles was introduced seven years ago to help the market become established. It was now time to focus support on zero-emission models such as pure electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars, the DfT added.
The change seems contradictory to the governments’ Road to Zero paper, published three months ago. This planned to remove petrol and diesel cars from UK roads by 2050, forcing all motorists to own electric models.
The current grants for ultra-low emission vehicles are placed into three categories:
- Category 1: CO₂ emissions of less than 50g/km and a zero emission range of at least 70 miles.
- Category 2: CO₂ emissions of less than 50g/km and a zero emission range between 10 and 69 miles.
- Category 3: CO₂ emissions of 50 to 75g/km and a zero emission range of at least 20 miles.
The government said the cut in the support for Category 1 cars to £3,500 reflected recent reductions in the price of electric vehicles.
However motoring groups denounced the negative changes, saying it would leave the government struggling to meet its emissions reduction targets.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT motor manufacturers body, said removing the grant for plug-in hybrids was “totally at odds” with ambitions to cut CO2 and “sends yet more confusing signals to car buyers”.
“Manufacturers, which are having to adjust to tumbling sales of diesel cars, have invested heavily in electric technologies. Prematurely removing up-front purchase grants can have a devastating impact on demand. Without world-class incentives, government’s world-class ambitions will not be delivered,” Mr Hawes said.
The RAC’s Nicholas Lyes said the move was “a major blow to anyone hoping to go green with their next vehicle choice”.
“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.”
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.”
Here at Electric Car Experts we feel this is a very negative step from the UK Government. Although hybrid cars are not ideal, they are often a stepping stone to full electric vehicle. The Government could have been less brutal and reduced the hybrid grants and increased the full electric vehicle grants. This would have encouraged buyers to leap straight to full electric.