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Plug-in car grant reduced to £1,500 with £32,000 car price limit

The government is changing the plug-in car grant from today. It will now provide grants of up to £1,500 for electric cars priced under £32,000. This is reduced from the previous grant of £2,500 for EVs under £35,000. Wheelchair accessible vehicles still qualify for the previous grant arrangement.

Grant rates for the Plug in Van Grant will now be £5,000 for large vans and £2,500 for small vans, with a limit of 1,000 per customer per year.

Motorcycle and moped grants will also be changing, with the government now providing £500 off the cost of a motorcycle, and £150 for mopeds, with a price cap on vehicles of £10,000.

The government is also setting out that it will introduce new rules next year that it says will increase confidence in the EV charging infrastructure. These rules will mandate a minimum payment method – such as contactless payment – for new 7.1 kW and above chargepoints, including rapids. Motorists will soon be able to compare costs across networks which will be in a recognisable format similar to pence per litre for fuel and there will be new standards to ensure reliable charging for electric vehicle drivers.

The government says that it is “refocusing its vehicle grants on the more affordable vehicles and reducing grant rates to allow more people to benefit, and enable taxpayers’ money to go further.”

Many in the EV sector have other views. Gill Nowell, Head of EV, LV= General Insurance, comments: “Whilst it’s good that financial support is being targeted at the most affordable electric cars, a £1,000 cut to the existing grant, at a time when living costs are rising, still creates a massive financial barrier for people considering the switch to a green car – it’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul.

“Our research shows that almost half of drivers are put off buying an electric car due to the relatively high upfront sticker price. In the current environment of increased living costs, the government should focus fiscal support on making all electric cars affordable, and helping people understand the running costs – one thing that we are doing through ElectriX – which can in fact make electric cars better value over the lifetime of owning the vehicle.”

Green Car Guide would agree with this view. Green Car Guide’s Editor Paul Clarke adds: “To meet the government’s Net Zero targets, as well as to improve local air quality, we need to get as many drivers into EVs as possible. Although businesses have been leading the charge to buy new EVs, which is reflected in increasing EV sales, we need to make EVs as affordable as possible for all other motorists, as soon as possible. With the initial low hanging fruit of many company EV purchases already made, most individuals who aren’t in the market for new cars need some financial support to switch to an EV. With the latest reduction in the plug-in car grant it seems that the rhetoric from COP26 has been forgotten about already.”