With a sharpening societal focus on climate change and how our lifestyles affect the environment, electric and hybrid vehicles are becoming an increasingly popular choice among UK drivers.
As with many industries, the coronavirus pandemic hit the automotive sector hard in 2020, with new car sales sliding to the lowest September levels since 1999, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
However, analysing the figures for eco-friendly vehicles reveals cause for optimism. The SMMT’s statistics show that sales of battery electric models are up 49% on last year and more than 9,255 plug-in hybrids have already been sold in 2021 – an increase of 35.2% compared to this time last year.
While more drivers across the UK are doing their bit to address the issue of climate change and cities across the UK are opening more low emission zones, the government has pledged its support too, vowing to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. Part of that strategy is to incentivise greener driving, which is where the electric car grant comes in. But how exactly does the scheme work? How much can you receive? And how do you know which models are eligible?
Read on for everything you need to know about the UK’s electric car grant.
The government’s electric car grant was originally launched in 2011 and is designed to encourage drivers to purchase zero-emission vehicles by offering a discount on the sale price. It is hoped that the scheme will make eco-friendly cars more affordable, which in turn will increase sales and reduce carbon emissions.
The electric car grant is overseen by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and is available for cars with CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km that can travel at least 70 miles with zero emissions.
Not anymore. Previously, plug-in hybrids (classed as being Category 2 or 3) were part of the scheme, but the government announced in October 2018 they would no longer be deemed eligible. However, drivers of hybrids still receive support in the form of lower tax rates, charging grants and some local incentives such as free parking.
The electric car grant entitles you to 35% of the purchase price, up to £2,500. This is applicable to vehicles with a list price of less than £35,000. When the scheme was first launched the rate was set at £5,000 but since then it has been steadily lowered and in March 2021 the current figure of £2,500 was announced.
Good news for anyone thinking about switching to a low-emission vehicle – the government’s electric car grant involves no complicated application process or mountains of paperwork. In fact, you do not need to do anything. When purchasing an electric vehicle, your dealer will include the discount from the grant in the price.
As we’ve already mentioned, to qualify for the electric car grant scheme in the UK, vehicles must cost under £35,000 including VAT and delivery fees. Some of those that are eligible include the likes of the smart EQ fortwo and the Mini Electric, but for a full list of makes and models that qualify, you can check out the government’s page on the electric car grant.
No, the grant does not apply to second-hand electric cars. There are plenty of quality used models on the market, which will be available at a lower sale price than new vehicles, but the government’s electric car grant applies only to brand-new purchases.
There is still plenty of time for drivers to make the switch to eco-friendly vehicles, as the government announced in March 2020 that the electric car grant was being extended to 2022-23. By that stage, the scheme will have been in place for 12 years and will have supported the purchase of hundreds of thousands of low-emission vehicles.
Yes, as of 1st April 2020 you can receive £350 to put towards the cost of purchasing and installing a chargepoint at your home through the electric vehicle homecharge scheme. The rate was previously set at £500, with the government announcing that the changes will enable nearly twice as many people to benefit (from 30,000 to 57,000).
There is also an electric car charger grant of £350 available for chargepoint sockets at work through the workplace charging scheme, while local authorities can apply for up to £6,500 to put towards the installation of sockets for those without off-street parking. This is managed through the on-street residential chargepoint scheme.
Are you thinking of making the switch to a low-emission vehicle? As well as contributing towards a greener planet, it can also make sense from a financial point of view, thanks to the electric car grant. And, as we’ve already mentioned, there’s no complicated application process. All you have to do is browse our selection of new cars and, if the model you have chosen qualifies for the scheme, your local dealership will include the discount in the sale price. What could be simpler? The government’s electric car grant was set up to encourage more people to go green, so what are you waiting for?
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Last Updated: March 2021