Government slashes grants for new hybrid and electric cars angering motoring groups

'This move from is a big step backwards,' RAC warns

Thursday 11 October 2018 22:41
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Grants for new hybrid and electric cars will be slashed in a move which has angered motoring groups.

Fewer models will be eligible for the scheme and the money available to motorists will be reduced from 12 November, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced.

Cash incentives have been offered since 2011 to encourage more people to buy electric and plug-in hybrid cars. Vehicles currently included in the scheme are divided into three categories based on their CO2 emissions and their zero-emission range.

People who buy Category 1 cars - those meeting the toughest CO2 restrictions - can claim up to £4,500 towards the cost of purchase. Grants for Category 2 and 3 models reach £2,500.

The changes announced by the DfT mean the maximum grant for Category 1 cars will be cut by £1,000 to £3,500 and Category 2 and 3 models have been removed from the scheme.

The new rates come into effect on 12 November, although this may be brought forward if sales are higher than expected following the announcement, the DfT warned.

Motoring groups claimed the decision will leave the Government struggling to meet targets to reduce vehicle emissions.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: "The Government wants to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars, but scrapping grants for low emission cars may well stall their progress. Seven out of 10 drivers say grants are necessary to buy an ultra-low emission vehicle until such time that the price compared to a conventional petrol or diesel car is the same.

"This announcement will simply put more drivers off from buying greener cars."

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: "The reduction of the plug-in car grant is a major blow to anyone hoping to go green with their next vehicle choice and makes little sense when we need to focus our efforts on lowering emissions from vehicles. Of particular concern, some popular zero emission capable plug-in hybrid models will lose their plug-in car grant altogether.

"With up-front costs still a huge barrier for those hoping to switch to an electric vehicle, this move from the Government is a big step backwards and is in stark contrast to countries like Norway, where generous tax incentives have meant that it has one of the highest ownership levels of ultra-low emission vehicles of anywhere in the world."

Press Association

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