Plug-in Car Grant extended but home charging hit

Electric car and charging grants set to change


As of Tuesday 1st March, the UK Government’s plug-in car grant (PiCG) and Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) will change, with reduced levels of funding across the board.

The changes to the PiCG aim to prioritise sales of zero-emission cars, while both schemes are set to see cuts in grant levels to make the funding set aside by the government last longer.

Changes to the PiCG will see pure-electric vehicles (EVs) receive £500 less than the current £5,000 levels, while plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) will see that figure halved to £2,500.

The EVHS currently covers up to 75 per cent of the cost of installation to a maximum value of £700, while the new levels of funding see the same 75 per cent limit but with a maximum of £500 offered.

Changes to both schemes come into effect from 1st March, though cars can be ordered until close of trade Monday 29th February and still qualify if delivered and paid for within nine months, while installation of a home charging point can be no more than four months before the delivery of a PiCG eligible model.

It is unclear yet whether manufacturers of both cars and charge points will cut costs by the same level of grant reduction to keep prices the same as current levels, whether the full cost of the car or charge point remains the same and customers need to pay the difference, or whether some of the costs will be absorbed by the manufacturers and some by the customer. It is expected that all of the above will be seen with different solutions sought by different companies.

The current PiCG system offers a grant of up to £5,000, or up to 35 per cent of the cost of a plug-in car or ultra low emission vehicle (ULEVs) such as a hydrogen fuel cell powered car. The qualifying criteria are fairly simple and covers all plug-in cars that emit less than 75 g/km CO2 and can cover at least 70 miles between charges – plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) need to have an electric-only range of at least ten miles to qualify.

With the increasing number of plug-in vehicles being sold, the government announced in December last year that it planned to adjust the grant to favour zero-emission vehicles. PHEV sales have shot up in recent years, with an increasing proportion of PiCG funds supporting buyers of this type of car.

However, the grant, as of 1st March, will split ULEVs into three categories:
Category 1: CO2 emissions <50g/km and a zero emission range of at least 70 miles Category 2: CO2 emissions <50g/km and a zero emission range between 10 and 69 miles Category 3: CO2 emissions of 50-75g/km and a zero emission range of at least 20 miles

Category 1 will still receive the full PiCG amount – though this has been reduced from £5,000 to £4,500. This category includes all pure-EVs such as the Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe and VW e-Golf.

Categories 2 and 3 cover PHEVs and will receive £2,500 in funding, down from £5,000. Models included in these categories include the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, BMW 330e and VW Golf GTE.

There is also a cap on the list price to encourage the uptake and development of more affordable cars. Any Category 2 and 3 car with a list price of more than £60,000 will not be eligible for any funding.

Those looking to buy a ULEV are able to check the list of eligible vehicles and more detailed explanation of the changes here. Details of changes to the EVHS can be viewed here. Dealerships will advise you of the likelihood of an ordered model arriving within the nine month time-frame.