Government scraps plug in buying grant

No more plug-in perks for new car buyers from today as focus switches to charging infrastructure

By Matt Bird / Monday, 13 June 2022 / Loading comments

Having recently been reduced to £1,500, the Government’s plug-in car grant has now been scrapped entirely. Introduced in 2011, the grant orginally offered £5,000 off eligible hybrid vehicles to encourage buyers into cleaner transport. (Assuming they plugged their car in, of course, but that’s a discussion for another time.) A lowering of the price threshold had already seen the number of eligible EVs drastically reduced, but today the Government has confirmed that it will end the discount with immediate effect.

Instead £300m of grant money will now be allocated to extending plug-in benefits for taxi, bike, van and truck buyers, while the private buyer apparently stands to benefit from a planned expansion in public charging spots. They’ll be needed – there were 39,000 EV registrations in the UK in March, more than the whole of 2019, and the government’s stated plan is to have 10 times more on street chargers by 2030.

Having spent more than £1.4bn on the plug-in grant, the government’s research has shown it was “having less of an effect on demand”, though it might equally be said that the reduced amount of the grant did that. Having kickstarted the electric car revolution (the statement’s words, not ours), the plug-in grant has been retired permanently to instead refocus funding “towards the main barriers to the EV transition.” 

Transport Minister Trudy Harrison added: “We now want to use plug-in grants to match that success across other vehicle types, from taxis to delivery vans and everything in between, to help make the switch to zero emission travel cheaper and easier… We are continuing to lead the way in decarbonising transport, with generous government incentives still in place, while creating high-skilled jobs and cleaner air across the UK.” 

So, what does this mean for the customer? As with the previous reduction in funding, this has been sprung without much warning. The statement says that all applications in process will be honoured, and any car sold in the past two working days (where perhaps the application hasn’t yet been submitted) will be eligible. Otherwise, that’s it; a decade and a bit of plug-in discount – back in 2011, just 1,000 pure electric cars were sold in the UK – is finished.  

Given the advances in both technology and popularity of EVs since that time – almost 100,000 have been sold here in the first five months of 2022 – it’s perhaps no surprise the grant has been wound up. Though it does potentially make the case for all the plug-in hybrids a little harder to make for the private buyer. Did you benefit from the grant? Should the government continue to offer some sort of incentive – or is the electric vehicle (and its infrastructure) far enough advanced to make it redundant? Over to you – this one could run a little while… 


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