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Plug-in car grants end but EV ownership set to rocket

The government has announced an end to the popular plug-in grant scheme for electric cars and will instead re-focus funding on charging infrastructure, but electric vans will continue to be subsidised.

The move means that the £1,500 grant for new plug-in electric cars under £32,000 is now no longer available to new applicants. The grant had been incrementally reduced in recent years as the cost of vehicles has decreased, having been set at £2,500 as recently as December 2021.

Van grants remain in place

£300 million in grant funding will now be re-focused towards extending plug-in grants for taxis, motorcycles, vans and trucks and wheelchair accessible vehicles, as well as expanding the UK’s public chargepoint network.

Grants are currently capped at £2,500 for small vans and £5,000 for large vans.

In a statement, the government said: “Successive reductions in the size of the [car] grant, and the number of models it covers, have had little effect on rapidly accelerating sales or on the continuously growing range of models being manufactured.

“Due to this, the government is now refocusing funding towards the main barriers to the EV transition, including public charging and supporting the purchase of other road vehicles where the switch to electric requires further development.”

EV ownership in the North ‘doubles’

Despite criticism from some quarters over the removal of the car grant, EV ownership is set to continue rocketing upwards and is already ahead of the government’s own projections. There are now around 750,000 electric cars, vans, buses and trucks on the road in the UK. 327,000 EVs were registered in 2021 alone, with numbers more than doubling in the North.

Even though rising energy costs are currently sending EV charging prices to record highs, running costs are still significantly below those of a petrol or diesel vehicle.

Andy Eastlake, chief executive of not-for-profit zero emission mobility group, Zemo Partnership, said: “With the rapid growth in demand for EVs over the last year or more, the grant to support plug-in car sales was always going to end sooner rather than later. There remain, of course, very many compelling reasons to buy or lease new EVs. Total cost of ownership (TCO) models already show that EVs are cheaper overall after a few years for many drivers.”

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