The government has today, 14th June, closed the plug-in car grant scheme to new orders, and will instead refocus funding towards public charging and the purchase of other road vehicles where the switch to electric requires further development.
The government had previously signalled the plug-in car grant was temporary and had confirmed funding until 2022-23, although some had hoped that the cost-of-living crisis might prompt a rethink.
To continue the government’s drive towards net zero and ensure effective use of taxpayer funds, £300 million in grant funding will now be refocused towards extending plug-in grants to boost sales of plug-in taxis, motorcycles, vans and trucks and wheelchair accessible vehicles.
The shift in focus aims to allow government funding to target expanding the public charging network, and so ensure the transition to zero-emission transport is easy and convenient for all drivers across the UK. In its Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy, the government has already committed £1.6 billion to building the UK’s public charge point network.
Significant savings in running costs for electric cars compared to petrol or diesel equivalents can often exceed the current £1,500 value of the grant, and electric car drivers will continue to benefit from incentives including zero road tax and favourable company car tax rates, which can save drivers over £2,000 a year.
The government has emphasised that all existing applications for the grant will continue to be honoured and, where a car has been sold in the two working days before the announcement but an application for the grant from dealerships has not yet been made, the sale will also still qualify for the grant.
“The government continues to invest record amounts in the transition to EVs, with £2.5 billion injected since 2020, and has set the most ambitious phase-out dates for new diesel and petrol sales of any major country,” said Transport Minister Trudy Harrison. “But government funding must always be invested where it has the highest impact if that success story is to continue.”
Since its inception in 2011, the government’s plug-in car grant has provided over £1.4 billion and supported the purchase of nearly half a million clean vehicles.
Looking ahead, the government’s commitment to install 10 times more on-street chargers by 2030 should result in a cheaper, more reliable and quicker public charging network for EV drivers, who also benefit from significantly lower running and refuelling costs – as low as 2p per mile.
Since 2020, the government has committed £2.5 billion to plug-in vehicle grants, infrastructure and the wider transition to electric vehicles in the UK. The industry is further boosting the switch to greener vehicles by slowly expanding its range of more affordable zero emission cars. A total of 24 electric models are currently priced under £32,000, compared to 15 a year ago, and the cost of monthly purchase and rental and leasing schemes has fallen significantly.