The British government has announced that the subsidy programme for EVs would be cut by 1,000 pounds starting next month, and that most plug-in hybrids would be removed from the Plug-in Car Grant entirely, in a move to save money.
This measure had previously been suspected and the reasons are indeed a tight budget, as well as the high demand for plug-in cars. The new regulations will take hold as of November, 9.
Specifically, the subsidies for category 1 PEVs with at least 70 miles (about 112 km) electric range and less than 50g of CO2 emissions per kilometre would be dropped from 4,500 pounds to 3,500 pounds (about 5,119 euros to 3,981 euros). Vehicles in the categories 2 and 3, which have an electric range of less than 69 miles will no longer receive any subsidies. This means that most plug-in hybrids, with a typical electric range of around 50 km will no longer qualify for UK subsidies. Until now, the part-time electric vehicles received up to 2,500 pounds (2,844 euros) in public support.
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The government added that the cuts currently would only affect the PICG subsidy programme, and would not have any impact on the separate programmes for electrified vans and motorcycles. In a statement, the transport ministry said the cuts were a reaction to falling prices for electrified vehicles, and would help the budget focus more on the cleanest vehicles currently available. “The PICG has helped the plug-in hybrid market become more established, and the government will now focus its support on zero emission models like pure electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars.”
Yet, with less money than before, a move that appears particularly crude at a time when Westminster is saying they were pushing for a low carbon future (we reported).
The Plug-in Car Grant was introduced in 2011, and helped support the purchasing of more than 160,000 new vehicles. Currently, the budget for the 2018 – 2019 period stands at a total of 124 million pounds (about 141 million euros) and only has 96 million pounds (109 million euros) left over for the period from 2019 to 2020.
Motoring groups heavily criticised the cuts, stating that the lowering, as well as wholly cutting of the subsidies would undermine one of the few parts of the automobile market, which is currently growing healthily.
Update 25.10.2018: Instead of the initially announced 9th of November, the announced subsidy changes have surprisingly already taken effect. The reason for the premature introduction has been cited as such: “Following exceptional demand, the sales cap for all vehicles eligible for the grant has been reached, and the new grant rates are now in effect,” a DfT spokesperson said.