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Green Grant Slash Drives LEV Dash But No Plug-ins Are A Problem

19 October 2018 | Updated 22 October 2018

Motorists are snapping up low-emission vehicles (LEVs) before grants are cut and Parliamentary Committee has slammed the Government's commitment to electric vehicles.

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.


Buy now

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.

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.

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: “Thi] 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.


Norway model

Lyes 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.”


Ban On New Petrol And Diesel Cars Should Be Brought Forward To 2032

The Government’s 2040 targets for zero emission cars are vague and unambitious, says the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee. The 'Electric vehicles: driving the transition' report recommends the Government bring forward a clear, precise target for new sales of cars and vans to be zero emission by 2032.


Ensure charging points are provided nationwide

The report finds that the poor provision of charging points for electric vehicles (EVs) is one of the greatest barriers to growing the UK EV market. The Committee has called on the Government to take the lead in ensuring charging points are provided nationwide and help local authorities access greater technical and financial support to develop charging infrastructure across the country, including in remote and rural areas.


Chair's comments

Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee said: "Electric vehicles are increasingly popular and present exciting opportunities for the UK to develop an internationally competitive EV industry and reduce our carbon emissions. But, for all the rhetoric of the UK becoming a world leader in EVs, the reality is that the Government’s deeds do not match the ambitions of their words.

"The IPCC report was clear on the need to encourage changes in consumer behaviour, including increasing the switch to electric vehicles, to help decarbonise our economy. But the UK Government’s targets on zero-emissions vehicles are unambitious and vague, giving little clarity or incentive to industry or the consumer to invest in electric cars.

"If we are serious about being EV world leaders, the Government must come forward with a target of new sales of cars and vans to be zero emission by 2032."


Not fit for purpose

Reeves continued: "Our EV charging infrastructure is simply not fit for purpose. We cannot expect consumers to overcome ‘range anxiety’ and switch to electric vehicles if they cannot be confident of finding convenient, reliable points to regularly charge their cars. The Government cannot simply will the ends and leave local government, or private companies, to deliver the means. The Government needs to get a grip and lead on coordinating the financial support and technical know-how necessary for local authorities to promote this infrastructure and help ensure that electric cars are an attractive option for consumers".


Money and targets

The report finds that the current fiscal regime for EVs provides inconsistent messages about the Government’s ambitions for EVs and recommends that the Government align new fiscal changes with the zero emissions target.

The Committee says the Government should ensure buyers of electric vehicles benefit from preferential Vehicle Excise Duty rates and that the introduction of preferential rates on company car tax for EVs is brought forward without delay. The Government should also maintain Plug-in Grants for new electric vehicles at current levels, rather than cutting them from November as announced by the Department for Transport on 11 October.

Picture: Grants for low-emissions vehicles are to be cut and a Parliamentary Committee has slammed the Government's commitment to electric vehicles.

Article written by Brian Shillibeer | Published 19 October 2018


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