The Plug-In Car Grant no longer reduces the cost of plug-in hybrid cars and only benefits pure electric cars, after the government made revisions to the long-running scheme.
Initially introduced in 2011 to kickstart the electric vehicle market, the grant provided a discount to the price of more than 160,000 new ultra-low emission vehicles.
Previously, plug-in hybrid cars had received a £2,500 government subsidy, rising to £4,500 for pure electric cars.
However, the revised system now in effect only concerns full EVs, slashing the ticket price by £3,500 and leaving plug-in hybrids -like Toyota's Prius Plug-In [pictured] out in the cold.
Focus on zero-emission models
The Department for Transport says the newly reduced grant reflects “the recent reductions in the price of electric vehicles”.
Announcing the move, it said the grant had helped make the plug-in hybrid market “become more established”, adding that it will now “focus its support on zero-emission models, like pure electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars”.
Gerry Keaney, chief executive of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), slammed the government’s decision as “unbelievably short-sighted”.
“This year we have already seen a significant increase in the uptake in electric vehicles,” he said.
“There is clearly momentum for change amongst motorists, but this has always been dependent on them being able to afford to choose an electric vehicle. The plug-in grant has been essential in supporting this growth.”
Rob Lindley, managing director at Mitsubishi Motors UK – which sells Britain’s most-popular plug-in hybrid – agreed with the BVRLA boss, describing the decision as “extremely disappointing”.
“Electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles still represent a tiny proportion of the overall market and it is the opinion of Mitsubishi Motors that the government’s decision to cut the grant for plug-in hybrids is somewhat premature,” he went on to say.
Jess Wort, marketing manager at the Green Journey, added: “The government clearly feels it has done its part to help out the plug-in car market and is using that cash to support other areas.”