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Electric vehicles eligible for Plug-In Car Grant


These are the nine electric cars that are coming over the next year or so that will be eligible for the Plug-In Car Grant, worth up to £5,000.

From 1 January 2011, motorists are entitled to the Plug-In Car Grant of up to £5,000 when buying any qualifying low carbon car with CO2 emissions less than 75 g/km. The list of nine eligible vehicles below features three which are available to buy now, with the remaining six coming to market.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV


1st UK Deliveries January 2011

The Mitsubishi i-MiEV has been around for a while but only now is it officially becoming available in the UK. It’s based on a petrol car rather than being a clean-sheet electric design. It’s almost as refined to drive as the Nissan LEAF, but it’s not as big. Its narrow width makes it great for driving in urban areas, but doesn’t make it great for family use. However it can still seat four people, it can reach 81 mph, and has a range of 93 miles. After initially being announced at a whopping £38,699, the price has now come down to exactly match that of the LEAF, at £23,990 (after the £5,000 government electric car grant).

smart fortwo electric drive


1st UK Deliveries January 2011

The smart fortwo looks like it should have been an electric car from the start. Its miniature size mates well with an electric powertrain – in our view it’s better to drive than the petrol and diesel-powered versions with their frustrating gearboxes. The fortwo ED has been around as a trial for over two years, with 100 cars leased to a very limited audience. We’ve driven a few of them during their development and none have been as refined as the LEAF or the i-MiEV. The ED can travel up to 72 miles between charges, which typically take around 8 hours for a full charge. It achieves the equivalent of 300 mpg and has an electronically-limited top speed of 60 mph.

Peugeot iOn


1st UK Deliveries January 2011

The Peugeot iOn is a Mitsubishi i-MiEV with a Peugeot badge. So see the details for the i-MiEV above…

Nissan LEAF


1st UK Deliveries March 2011

The Nissan LEAF is the world’s first mass-produced all-electric five-seat hatchback. It’s very refined to drive, can reach 90 mph, has a range of 100 miles, and the electricity to cover this distance costs just £2. It’s also recently won the European Car of the Year award. You can order the LEAF now and deliveries start in March 2011 in the UK. The LEAF will cost £23,990 (after the £5,000 government electric car grant).

Tata Vista


1st UK Deliveries March 2011

The Tata Vista EV will go on sale in Europe from early summer 2011 and the car will be manufactured in the West Midlands, having been developed by Tata Motors’ UK subsidiary, Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC). By the end of the first quarter 2011, a total of 25 Vista EV vehicles will be supplied for a 12 month trial programme. The Vista EV is a fully-electric 4-seater family car with a 110 mile range and a top speed of 71 mph. The Tata Vista EV will initially be available to fleet customers in limited numbers in advance of a more comprehensive launch in 2012.

Citroen C-Zero

1st UK Deliveries Early 2011

The Citroen C-Zero is a Mitsubishi i-MiEV with a Citroen badge (sounds familiar?). So see the details for the i-MiEV above…

Vauxhall Ampera

Extended-range electric vehicle (E-REV)

1st UK Deliveries Early 2012

Whereas all the cars above are pure electric vehicles, and so have a limited range before you need to stop and recharge, the Vauxhall Ampera is instead an extended-range electric vehicle (E-REV). This means that you can drive zero emission on the battery and electric motor alone for around 50 miles. Then if the battery runs low, the car switches to an on-board petrol range-extender engine and you can drive a further 310 miles, or until you get to an electric charging point or petrol station to fill up. GM originally said that the Ampera was an electric car at all times, ie. the petrol engine never directly powers the wheels, but this now turns out not to be quite true. After the £5000 grant, the car will cost £28,995, ie. £5000 more than the LEAF.

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

Plug-in Hybrid

1st UK Deliveries Early 2012

The Prius is the only hybrid in the list. This means that the Prius primarily runs on its petrol engine rather than an electric motor. However the difference with this car is that you can plug it in to recharge it. This gives you a much larger zero-emission range – up to 12.5 miles at speeds up to 62 mph – on its batteries and electric motor before the petrol engine kicks in. The result is 108.6 mpg and 59 g/km CO2.

Chevrolet Volt

Extended-range electric vehicle (E-REV)

1st UK Deliveries Early 2012

The same car as the Vauxhall Ampera but with a Chevrolet badge.

The government will continue to receive applications from vehicle manufacturers for more cars to be eligible for the Plug-In Car Grant and another round of eligible vehicles will be announced during 2011.

The level of the Plug-In-Car Grant has been agreed until 31 March 2012. The level will be reviewed in January 2012; taking into consideration a number of key factors, such as the costs of vehicles and the development of the early market. The level will then be set for subsequent years. £43m has been made available up to the end of March 2012.

The government is also encouraging a new network of electric vehicle recharging points in streets, car parks and commercial retail and leisure facilities. Five successful areas bid for Plugged-In Places funding: the Midlands, Greater Manchester, East of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland will share £20m to further the development of the ultra-low carbon infrastructure, installing 4,000 more charging points in the coming years.

These new zones join round one winners London, Milton Keynes and North East England that will install over 11,000 charging posts across the three regions by 2013.