Government extends £5,000 plug-in car grant scheme

The plug-in vehicle grant scheme offering motorists up to £5,000 towards the cost of a new electric car will continue to operate until at least February 2016 for all categories of vehicle, the government announced this morning (August 26).

Around 40,000 new electric plug-in vehicles have ben registered under the scheme so far

Around 40,000 new electric plug-in vehicles have ben registered under the scheme so far

First launched in 2010 by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), the plug-in car grant scheme was previously set to run until 50,000 new electric, low emission vehicles had been sold in the UK, at which point the scheme was to be reviewed.

However, electric car sales have been rising rapidly over the past year – up to around 40,000 – prompting suggestions that the 50,000 limit could be reached as soon as November 2015, and the grant scheme then discontinued.

But OLEV has now announced that the scheme, which was updated in April to raise the maximum discount paid to the car manufacturer from 25% to 35% (see AirQualityNews.com story), will continue to operate so that all plug-in cars with CO2 emissions of 75g/km or under will remain eligible for the grant until at least February next year.

Transport minister Andrew Jones MP said:

“I’m pleased to announce today that the government is maintaining the current levels of grant, even as we move past the milestone of 50,000 vehicles. The UK is now the fastest growing market for electric vehicles in Europe. We will continue to invest to help make this technology affordable to everyone and to secure the UK’s position as a global leader.”

A longer term plan for electric vehicle grants will then be drawn up and announced after the government’s November spending review, according to OLEV and government-backed campaign Go Ultra Low.

Hetal Shah, head of Go Ultra Low, said: “Continuing the Plug-in Car Grant at current levels is positive news for everyone, as it encourages zero-emission motoring and secures more funding for a greater number of ULEV buyers. This announcement demonstrates the government’s commitment to supporting the growth of the ULEV market. If we are to meet ambitious targets for ULEV uptake, continued investment is paramount.”

Go Ultra Low is a jointly funded partnership between the UK car industry, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), and the government aimed at encouraging uptake of ultra low emission vehicles.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “With British buyers taking to ultra-low emission vehicles faster than anyone else in Europe, the extension of the Plug-in Car Grant is good news. The market for these vehicles remains small, however, so it is essential that government continues to provide effective incentives for their uptake – including the Plug-in Car Grant and other measures.”

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