Renault increases Zoe range to 149 miles with new electric motor

OLEV to increase Plug-in Car and Van Grants to 35% from 1 April 2015


The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has announced changes to the Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG). From 1st April 2015, buyers of eligible electric cars will be able to claim 35% of the vehicle’s OTR price as opposed to the 25% currently offered.

However, as the PiCG will remain capped at £5,000 (for the time being), these changes really only affect electric vehicles (EVs) with an OTR under the £20,000 mark, such as the Renault Zoe.

To take account of rapidly developing technology, and the growing range of ULEVs on the market, the criteria for the Plug-in Car Grant is also being updated.

From April 2015, eligible ULEVs must meet criteria in one of the following categories depending on emission levels and zero-emission-capable mileage:

Category 1: CO2 emissions of <50g/km and a zero emission range of at least 70 miles; Category 2: CO2 emissions of <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.

As announced in April 2014, vehicles in all categories will continue to be eligible for the full grant of up to £5,000, until 50,000 grants are issued or the end of the budget period, whichever occurs first. The new categories will better reflect the range of vehicles on the market and make them accessible to the widest range of people.

The popularity of Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) continues to rise sharply, with more than 25,000 Plug-in Car Grant and Plug-in Van Grant claims submitted since the scheme began in 2010.

Even the traditionally quiet January sales market saw nearly 2000 claims and total ULEV sales in 2014 were some 4 times the level of the previous year. The UK is now ahead of France and Germany in ULEV take-up, placing this country at the forefront of this green and cheap-to-run car technology.

The acceleration in popularity is matched by the growing number of ULEV models on the market with some 25 car models and 7 van models eligible for the plug-in grant. A further 40 ULEV models from major manufacturers are expected to come to market over the next 3 years.

With the announcement of the changes, Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “More and more people are deciding a ULEV is the right choice for them. They are great to drive, easily chargeable at home or on the street, and cheap to use with running costs from just 2 pence a mile.

“The government’s £500 million investment will help more models become available to suit a wide range of budgets. This thriving industry will support jobs and build a stronger economy.”

In response to the news, Dr Ben Lane of Next Green Car & Zap-Map commented: “The introduction of the three Plug-in Car Grant Categories indicates a significant shift in future policy. The likelihood is that future grants will differentiate between all-electric and plug-in hybrid models with official CO2 emissions of less than 50 g/km, and PHEVs with CO2 of 50-75 g/km.

“Should this turn out to be the case, we would support this change as it will ensure that any future grant system will target the highest-quality electric vehicles with the lowest CO2 emissions and longest EV-only range.”