Go Ultra LowThe government has guaranteed the Plug-in Car Grant, offering up to £5,000 off the price of an ultra-low emission car, will continue for “at least” the next six months.

Previously, the grant was due for review once volumes hit 50,000 units: a recent boom in ULEV registrations – they’ve grown 256% so far in 2015 – means the SMMT expects that benchmark to be reached in November 2015.

The government has responded early though, by committing the Plug-in Car Grant to at least February 2016: it means cars emitting 75g/km CO2 or less remain eligible for the £5,000 grant for at least six months more.

Transport Minister, Andrew Jones MP said: “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.”

The SMMT welcomed the announcement. 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.”

Hetal Shah, head of Go Ultra Low, said: “This announcement demonstrates the government’s commitment to supporting the growth of the ULEV market.”

With one eye to future CO2 targets, Shah said this commitment is almost an imperative: “If we are to meet ambitious targets for ULEV uptake, continued investment is paramount.”

Hawes added: “The market for these vehicles remains small… it is essential that government continues to provide effective incentives for their uptake – including the Plug-in Car Grant and other measures.”

This makes it unlikely to government will completely withdraw the grant when February arrives: indeed, the government has recently announced that “at least” £200 million has been made to continue it.

Expect more details about the next step in the Plug-in Car Grant to be announced in the spring 2016 budget, coincidentally likely to take place soon after the current extension to today’s incentive is due to expire…