A sales surge following the government’s surprise decision to scale back the Plug-in Car Grant has resulted in changes being imposed early due to remaining funds running out.
Since the announcement was made on 12 October, car buyers have been rushing to the showrooms to take advantage of the soon-to-expire £2,500 saving on plug-in hybrids.
The revised scheme, which focuses only on fully electric and fuel cell cars (oh, and ultra-long range plug-in hybrids, of which there are precisely… none currently on the market) was due to go live on 10 November.
But so quickly have car buyers used up the remaining 3,000 full EV (£4,500) and 6,000 plug-in hybrid £2,500) grant cash, the scheme has already switched over to its new format. This awards full EVs a lesser £3,500 sum.
The cash actually ran out just 10 days after the revised scheme was announced, says the RAC Foundation. 900 claims a day were being made, more than six times above than the average for 2018.
“While ministers might have fallen out of love with hybrid technology,” said RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding, “this last-minute rush to showrooms suggests the reassurance of running in part on conventional fuel is attractive to buyers with range anxiety, especially when it comes at an attractive price.
“The big question is whether motorists’ enthusiasm for hybrids will hold up now that the plug has been pulled on the grant.”
Details of the new scheme are now live on the government website. The only ‘plug-in’ cars now eligible for the £3,500 grant are detailed in full:
- BMW i3 and i3s
- BYD e6
- Citroen CZero
- Hyundai IONIQ Electric
- Hyundai KONA Electric
- Jaguar I-PACE
- Kia Soul EV
- Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive
- Nissan e-NV200 (5-seater and 7-seater)
- Nissan LEAF
- Peugeot iON
- Renault ZOE
- Smart EQ fortwo
- Smart EQ forfour
- Tesla Model S
- Tesla Model X
- Toyota Mirai
- Volkswagen e-up!
- Volkswagen e-Golf
The grant will pay for 35 percent of the purchase price, up to a maximum of £3,500. All must have CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km and travel at least 70 miles (which is why the Renault Twizy is not on the list).
Not all low-emission vehicles will get a grant, adds the government: only cars it has approved are eligible. This is why there’s sometimes a delay between a new model being launched and it appearing on the Plug-in Car Grant list.