Government cuts electric and hybrid grants driving sales rush

Government cuts electric and hybrid grants driving sales rush
Motorists are snapping up low-emission vehicles to take advantage of Government grants before they are cut, new figures have revealed.

The Department for Transport (DfT) announced plans in early October 2018 to slash ‘green’ grants, putting a cap on the number of new applications it would accept before implementing the lower rates.

And new figures from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles reveal that 59% of the Government’s 9,000-grant limit has already been claimed, in just a matter of days.

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The RAC questioned the Government’s decision to cut the grants, calling the move counterproductive at a time when the UK should be trying to reduce vehicle emissions.

Grants were introduced in 2011 in a bid to encourage more motorists to buy greener cars, with vehicles included in the scheme split into three categories based on their emissions.

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Until now, people buying pure electric ‘Category 1’ cars have been able to claim up to £4,500 towards the cost, while grants for plug-in hybrids in ‘Categories 2 and 3’ reach up to £2,500.

But on 11 October, the DfT announced that the grant for Category 1 cars will be slashed by £1,000, while all Category 2 and 3 cars will be removed from the grant scheme completely.

The move comes despite the Government’s announcement earlier this year that it plans to ban the sale of all petrol and diesel cars in the UK from 2040.

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The RAC’s head of roads policy, Nicholas Lyes, called the decision a major blow to those looking to make their next car purchase an environmentally friendly one.

He said: “[This] 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.

He added: “[This] 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.”

Copyright Press Association 2018. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.

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