Plug-in car grant ends: The government reported the plug-in car grant scheme for electric vehicles (EVs) closed last week, after previously verifying funding until 2022-23. Why is this? The government reported it would allow it to concentrate funding for what it called the main barriers to the EV transition, along with public charging and supporting the purchase of other vehicles. The £300mn available in plug-in grant funding will now be refocused in the direction of extending plug-in grants for vans, trucks, taxis, motorcycles, & wheelchair accessible vehicles.

As long as there are worries that the grant cut will undermine consumer confidence during a time of soaring costs and inflation, government indicated that new car EV sales have surpassed the Office for Zero Emission Vehicle’s (OZEV) original predictions when the grant was initially rolled out. Still, new BEV van registrations have not met OZEV’s original expectations, with problems involving limited model choice holding back uptake. Just £150mn of grant funding has been supplied for vans to November 2021 compared to £1,360mn for electric cars. With van model decision currently increasing, and demand rising, the government has decided to move support away from the fast-growing electric car market to guarantee funds are available to support e-van purchases, with upfront costs staying a main challenge for many fleets.

The ending of the grant means that the 24 cars that were under its £32,000 threshold will not get the £1,500 grant off the vehicle cost, raising the price for consumers in less than a day. The government has slowly lowered the plug-in car grant value and threshold over time since its beginning in 2011, and was supposed to end the grant completely in the relatively near-term. Still, several have responded critically to the timing of the change with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) saying the decision came “at the worst possible time” and sends the “wrong message to motorists”. Others like the British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association (BVRLA) thought it was right that the government prioritises its EV subsidies towards vans and charging infrastructure but recommended that OZEV should extend the time frame for cars to be delivered once they were ordered and still obtain the grant past the current 12 months, because of supply issues causing major delivery delays.

Together with offering grants to the vehicle types still requiring support, as well as to groups like disabled drivers, the industry has said that price has become a relatively less important problem for electric cars throughout time, with charging becoming an ever increasing concern. The bulk of EV owners (95% in a current survey from the Department for Transport) presently have access to off-street parking, still there is a actual challenge now in guaranteeing the public infrastructure is capable to support various kinds of drivers and the different  needs of fleets. About 30% of households within England do not have a way to utilise off-street parking, increasing to 60% in cities. This is supposedly higher for fleet drivers who take their vehicle home overnight, and will probably be further reliant on local public charging solutions. To support fleet electrification, access to on-street charging for vans will be important, alongside schemes such as local rapid hub charging.

Plug-in car grant ends

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