The government has extended the Plug-in Car Grant incentive with a £400 million boost that guarantees it until at least March 2018.
Ministers claim this will treble the number of greener vehicles on British roads – up from 50,000 Plug-in Car Grant beneficiaries today to more than 150,000 by 2018.
There is one significant change with the revised grant though: plug-in hybrid cars will no longer benefit from the full incentive; that’s reserved for cars with an emissions-free range of over 70 miles.
The top rate of grant has also been reduced from £5,000 to £4,500.
“The UK is a world leader in the uptake of low emission vehicles and the Plug-in Car Grant has been key to that success,” said transport minister Andrew James.
“Extending the grant in a sustainable way ensures more than 100,000 people will benefit from financial support.”
How does the Plug-in Car Grant work?
From March 2016, the Plug-in Car Grant will consist of two rates, each benefitting from a different level of financial support.
- Category 1: vehicles with a zero emission range of over 70 miles = £4,500 grant
- Category 2 and 3: vehicles with a shorter zero emission range = £2,500
In practice, this means that full EVs will benefit from the full £4,500 grant, while plug0-in hybrid vehicles with a supplementary petrol or diesel engine get a lower £2,500 grant.
The government has lowered the Category 2 and 3 grant partly to reflect the popularity of such vehicles and try to restore the appeal of fully electric vehicles.
Technically, the grant offers 35% off the cost of a car, up to a maximum of £4,500: in reality, because ultra low emission vehicles are generally expensive, most automatically qualify for the top rate of grant.
Which cars are eligible for the Plug-in Car Grant?
The government has a full list of cars eligible for the Plug-in Car Grant, which is constantly updated. Currently, 29 vehicles are eligible – that’s five times as many as when the scheme was first launched.
As of December 2015, eligible cars are:
- Audi A3 e-tron
- BMW i3
- BMW i8
- BMW 225xe
- BMW 330e
- BYD e6
- Citroen CZero
- Ford Focus Electric
- Kia Soul EV
- Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive
- Mercedes-Benz C350 e
- Mercedes-Benz S500 Hybrid
- Mitsubishi iMiEV
- Mitsubishi Outlander
- Nissan e-NV200 5-seater and 7-seater
- Nissan LEAF
- Peugeot iON
- Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid
- Renault Fluence
- Renault ZOE
- Smart fortwo electric drive
- Tesla Model S
- Toyota Mirai
- Toyota Prius Plug-in
- Volkswagen e-up!
- Volkswagen e-Golf
- Volkswagen Golf GTE
- Volvo V60 D6 Twin Engine
- Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine