Published: Sun, October 14, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Government cuts grant for plug-in hybrid buyers

Government cuts grant for plug-in hybrid buyers

The Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed today the news reported by AM on Wednesday (10) - following reports in the Observer newspaper - that plug-in vehicle grant for hybrids will be cut by £1,000 and no longer apply to cars with a zero-emissions range of less than 70 miles, from November 12.

Buyers of fully electric cars or those that can travel 70 miles on electric power alone will still qualify for the plug-in vehicle grant (PICG), although this has been reduced to £3,500 from £4,500.

Meanwhile, vehicles that release up to 75g/km of Carbon dioxide but with a lower zero-emission range will no longer be eligible for any subsidies at all.

The surprise announcement led to accusations that the government was undermining the campaign to cut roadside emissions and get drivers out of petrol and diesel cars.

Government grants for pure electric vehicles (EVs) are to be reduced, while those for now available plug-in hybrids will be scrapped altogether.

And eight out of 10 (83%***) say that the high purchase price of electric and hybrid cars is the main stumbling block to owning such a auto.

"With plug-in hybrid models like the Mitsubishi Outlander becoming popular among consumers the government is focussing its attention to zero emission models such as the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3".

The move has been criticised by the motoring industry, with experts warning that it could hit sales of cleaner cars.

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Meanwhile, motoring groups have expressed concern over the development.

In a statement issued today, the brand said that there was no question that the grant had "played a crucial role in establishing the EV and plug-in hybrid markets in the UK".

A statement supplied to TG.com said: "Now should be the ideal time for the Government to incentivise Plug-in hybrid technology, not pull its support, because such technology forms the flawless segue between conventional petrol and diesel powered and full electric vehicles, particularly as the charging network is nowhere near evolved enough to support widespread full EV use".

In an announcement yesterday (11 October), the Department for Transport and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, noted that over the last seven years, the Plug-in Car Grant (PICG) has provided a discount to the price of over 160,000 new ultra-low emission cars.

He added: "Prematurely removing up-front purchase grants can have a devastating impact on demand - without world-class incentives, government's world-class ambitions will not be delivered".

Lyes said that up-front cost was still a huge barrier for those hoping to switch to an electric vehicle - a fact underlined by the recent NFDA Consumer Attitude Survey - before describing the Government's move as "a big step backwards".

The move has been labelled as "a big step backwards" by the RAC and a major blow to anyone hoping to go green with their next vehicle choice.

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