Plug-in car grant axed for PHEVs and cut for electric cars

New rules for plug-in car grant means current crop of plug-in hybrids will be ineligible from November 12; grant for EVs drops by £1,000

Plug-in hybrid cars will no longer be eligible for the Government’s Plug-In Car Grant from November 12 2018, while grants for fully electric cars will be reduced from £4,500 to £3,500 at the same time.

The news comes as the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) confirmed Category 2 and 3 grants will end in November. That means PHEVs such as the Audi A3 e-tron and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, which were hitherto eligible for the grant, will no longer be so from 12 November.

• What is the UK plug-in grant?

In fact, none of the PHEVs currently on sale in the UK is capable of meeting the criteria necessary to qualify for the grant, marking effectively for fully electric cars only.

Category 2 cars emit 50g/km of CO2 or less and can officially travel for 10 to 69 miles on battery power alone; Category 3 cars emit between 50 and 75g/km of CO2 and can travel up to 20 miles on battery power alone. Such cars previously received a grant of £2,500, but this will cease next month.

Category 1 grants will still exist from November, but the amount contributed towards their cost by the Government will reduce from £4,500 to £3,500. Cars must be able to travel for 70 miles on battery power alone and emit under 50g/km in order to qualify as a Category 1 car, something no current PHEV can manage.

• Best plug-in hybrid cars available

And with tough new WLTP emission and economy tests reportedly holding back the supply of PHEVs from dealers, those wishing to take advantage of the Category 1 and 2 grants before they expire next month may find doing so difficult.

The Government has also warned that “if sales are higher than expected, we may reduce grant rates earlier than this date”, suggesting any potential sales rush may be kiboshed by officials as soon as it is detected.

Potential blow to green car sales

Commenting on the reduction, Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “This announcement will simply put more drivers off from buying greener cars.

“Rather than give consumers excuses to shy away from the greenest possible option, Government needs to provide reasons and incentives to convince drivers hybrid and electric cars are the way forward.

“At a time when air quality is of great concern, those who bought diesels in good faith, and with Government encouragement, will feel they have been given the cold shoulder rather than a helping hand.”

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