UK ends EV buyer grant scheme to boost infrastructure

The plug-in grant funding will now be used to increase charging access and cut ‘range anxiety’

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The UK government has ended the grant scheme for new orders of plug-in cars, as it looks to ramp up spending on charging infrastructure.

During the last 11 years, the grant scheme has helped to increase the number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the roads from less than 1,000 to 100,000.

Half of all new cars sold today are either battery or hybrid EVs – and with the government feeling the scheme has served its purpose to grow the electric market, it is now looking to make them easier to drive.

The funding is being refocused towards extending public charging, with £300 million being used to boost sales in electric taxis, motorcycles, vans and trucks.

Reductions in the plug-in grant in recent years and the car models that it covers, have not hampered EV sales, the government states – with hope that now the market has been kickstarted it will continue to grow, especially with more access to the necessary infrastructure.

‘Range anxiety’ is now considered the largest stumbling block for pushing more drivers to go electric, hence the change in focus from government funding.

Electric drivers will continue to benefit from zero road tax and lower company car tax rates that can save up to £2,000, the government has revealed.

Those that have purchased an EV and already applied for a grant in the last two working days before the announcement will have it honoured.

Since 2011, the plug-in car grant has provided more than £1.4 billion to incentivise the sale of close to 500,000 clean cars.

Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said: “Having successfully kickstarted the electric car market, we now want to use plug-in grants to match that success across other vehicle types, from taxis to delivery vans and everything in between, to help make the switch to zero-emission travel cheaper and easier.

“With billions of both government and industry investment continuing to be pumped into the UK’s electric revolution, the sale of electric vehicles is soaring.”

Director of Technology at Octopus Electric Vehicles, Claire Miller, commented: “It would be difficult to underplay the significance of the plug-in car grant. When the scheme started, you could fit the annual registration of electric cars in your local car park – today we’re seeing hundreds of thousands sold in just the first half of the year.

“Drivers are waking up to the benefits of making the switch to an EV and we’re seeing demand soar. It’s now over to the manufactures to meet demand with supply.”