Government announces end to plug-in car grant scheme

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Tue 14 June 2022 View all news

The Government has announced that grants to support the purchase of plug-in cars will end for new orders from today. The plug-in car grant scheme began in 2011 when sales of fully electric cars were less than 1,000 a year and has continued until now. Over 135,000 plug-in vehicles (and nearly 100,000 full BEVs) have been sold so far in 2022 alone. The Government says the focus of support funding will now move to other vehicle types and to expanding the UK's charging infrastructure.

The Government says that the scheme has succeeded in creating a mature market for ultra-low emission vehicles. Fully electric car sales have risen by 70% in the last year and now represent 1 in 6 new cars joining UK roads.

The Government says that it has always been clear the plug-in car grant was temporary and had previously confirmed funding until 2022-23. It says that successive reductions in the size of the grant, and the number of models it covers, have had little effect on sales or on the continuously growing range of models being manufactured.

The Government says that the £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, as announced in the autumn statement.

The shift in focus will also allow funding to target expanding the public chargepoint network. The Government says it has already committed £1.6 billion to building the UK’s public chargepoint network.

Commenting on the changes announced today, Andy Eastlake, Zemo Partnership's Chief Executive, said: "With the rapid growth in demand for EVs over the last year or more, the grant to support plug-in car sales was always going to end sooner rather than later.

"Demand for EVs is currently far outstripping supply so it's right to consider where limited funds are best directed to help encourage the transition.  There remain, of course, very many compelling reasons to buy or lease new EVs. Total cost of ownership (TCO) models already show that EVs are cheaper overall after a few years for many drivers.

"The electric car market is moving rapidly towards maturity and it's right that the focus of public support is moving to vans, trucks, taxis and motorcycles which are still in their take-off phases with a much wider range of products now becoming available.

"Official support is also re-focusing on ensuring that the UK's EV charging infrastructure is able to meet the rapid growth in demand from all vehicle types in the period to the end of sale of ICE cars and vans in 2030/5 (and other vehicle types by 2040, or earlier).

"We also need to ensure that we maximise the benefits of the transition for EV drivers and the UK's energy sector by seizing the opportunities presented by 'smart charging' to balance electricity demand over the day, reducing costs and EV charging prices.

"The work of the Zemo Partnership-convened EV Energy Taskforce has shown the gains that can be achieved through the widespread adoption of smart charging as well as the benefits that will be gained through a well-managed, collaborative transition, with targeted funding to stimulate the market."  

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