In an effort to encourage drivers to make the electric vehicle switch to reduce emissions, the government has been subsidising 35% of the price of specific models of electric vehicles. This grant previously stood at £3,000.

As demand has increased rapidly, however, this has now been reduced to £2,500 and will exclude any models with a price of over £35,000.

The reduction has been met with contempt, particularly by car manufactures whose electric vehicle ranges will now be excluded from the grant scheme. Ford is one of those impacted manufactures and chairman, Graham Hoare, has expressed his disappointment in the reduction:

‘Today’s news from the UK Government that plug-in grants for passenger and commercial vehicle customers are being reduced is disappointing and is not conducive to supporting the zero-emissions future we all desire.’

He went on to express that without solid incentives that consumers can rely on, there may be a lack of uptake in the future:

‘Robust incentives – both purchase and usage incentives – that are consistent over time are essential if we are to encourage consumers to adopt new technologies, not just for all-electrics but other technologies too like plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that pace the way to a zero-emissions future.’

Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC, also shares in these concerns, revealing that he believes ministers ‘talk-the-talk when it comes to encouraging people into cleaner vehicles, but cutting the Plug-In Car Grant certainly isn’t walking the walk.’

Mr Lyes also stated that upfront costs remain a deterrent to drivers considering switching to electric vehicles, and thus the reduction in the grant is even more cause for concern:

‘Even though more models are coming on to the market, our research suggests upfront cost remains a concern to drivers when comparing the cost of an electric vehicle with a similarly sized conventional vehicle.

‘By cutting the grant, the Government may risk people holding onto their older, more polluting vehicles for longer.’

This would, of course, have a negative impact on the government’s plan to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 and could hold the country back in its go-green scheme.

Chief executive at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, Mike Hawes, commented that the news of the grant slash has is the ‘wrong move at the wrong time’ and is concerned about the message it sends to drivers:

‘This sends the wrong message to the consumer, especially private consumers, and to an industry challenged to meet the Government’s ambition to be a world leader in the transition to zero-emission mobility.’

Electric vehicle grants slashed by £500

[Image Source: Shutterstock, March 2021]

Support for reduced electric vehicle grant

Despite the disappointment and concern the reduction in the electric grant vehicle has caused for motoring experts and drivers alike, others have spoken out to support the move.

In a comment referring to the ineligibility of more expensive vehicles for the grant, Whitehall sources told the Times that a reduction was the right decision, stating that taxpayers should not be subsidising people to buy cars for £50,000.’

In an attempt to quell concern, Transport Minister Rachel Maclean explained the reasoning behind the reduced grant:

‘We want as many people as possible to be able to make the switch to electric vehicles as we look to reduce our carbon emissions, strive towards our net-zero ambitions and level up right across the UK.

‘The increasing choice of new vehicles, growing demand from customers and rapidly rising numbers of charge-points mean that, while the level of funding remains as high as ever, given soaring demand, we are refocusing our vehicle grant on the more affordable zero-emissions vehicles – where most consumers will be looking and where taxpayers’ money will make more of a difference.’

She concluded by reassuring drivers and manufactures alike: ‘We will continue to review the grant as the market grows.’

However, many experts remain unconvinced. Jim Holder, What Car? editorial director summed up the shared concern by saying:

‘While it was inevitable the carrot of the grant would whittle down over time and eventually be replaced by punitive measures, this feels too soon to take another step on that journey. The 2030 combustion only ban was announced with much fanfare- the thinking behind how to make the transition to that goal appears to be worryingly muddled, with this decision being further evidence of that.’

Are you looking to make the switch to an electric vehicle? Will the reduced grant impact your decision? Or do you think the government were right to make the cut?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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