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Northern Powerhouse European Union

Electric vehicle grants extended but cut back

The government’s Plug-In Car grant has been extended into the 2020s to support the next 35,000 electric vehicle purchases, but older plug-in hybrid models are no longer eligible.

The government’s Plug-In Car grant has been extended into the 2020s to support the next 35,000 electric vehicle purchases, but older plug-in hybrid models are no longer eligible.

From November 2018, only the cleanest ‘Category 1’ electric vehicles - those that have CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km and can drive at least 70 miles without any CO2 emissions at all - will be eligible. The maximum grant available will also drop from £4,500 to £3,500.

This leaves 19 vehicles on the market covered by the scheme, with 20 low emission models coming under categories 2 and 3 no longer eligible.

The government said that the changes to financial incentives “reflect the ongoing success” of the Plug-In Car grant and the increasing uptake of electric vehicles.

From ‘low emission’ to ‘pure electric’

The grant has supported the purchase of more than 160,000 ultra-low emission and electric vehicles to date since its introduction in 2011. The focus from hereon will be on pure electric, zero emission models, although older hybrid models will still benefit from lower car tax rates and grants for charging infrastructure.

The government also has Plug-In Van and Motorcycle grants in place, and plans to introduce a £2 million fund to provide grants of up to £5,000 for ‘e-cargo’ bikes, which can be used for short deliveries in cities and towns. 

A ‘Road to Zero’ strategy was launched in the summer with the aim of ensuring at least half of new cars will be low emission by 2030.