Government scraps plug-in auto grant for hybrids

2017 Toyota Prius Prime

The Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed today the news reported by AM on Wednesday (10) - following reports in the Observer newspaper - that plug-in vehicle grant for hybrids will be cut by £1,000 and no longer apply to cars with a zero-emissions range of less than 70 miles, from November 12.

Changes to the Plug-in Car Grant (PICG) mean that the grant rate for Category 1 (pure electric) vehicles will be cut from £4,500 to £3,500 and Category 2 and 3 (hybrid) vehicles will no longer be eligible for the grant.

Those purchasing cars emitting up to 75 grams/km of Carbon dioxide but with a lower zero-emission range will no longer be eligible for such support under plans due to come into force next month.

As no plug-in hybrid auto that's now on sale in the United Kingdom matches this criteria, new vehicle buyers who wish to make use of the PICG will need to purchase an eligible vehicle within the next four weeks. Vehicles in the the categories 2 and 3, which have an electric range of less than 69 miles will no longer receive the subsidies.

Drivers looking to buy hybrid or electric cars will no longer be eligible to receive subsidies as of next month, the Government has announced.

Demand for plug-in vehicles is already extremely limited and the decision to reduce the amount of financial support available through the Plug-in Car Grant is likely to reduce demand still further.

In their statement, OLEVand the DfT said that with plug-in hybrid models like the Mitsubishi Outlander becoming popular among consumers, the government is focussing its attention to zero emission models such as the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3.

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Funding support for purchases of electric vehicles is to be reduced or stopped altogether for some categories but will run for a further 35,000 vehicles.

The move has been criticised by the motoring industry, with experts warning that it could hit sales of cleaner cars.

The Department for Transport said that financial incentives to promote the purchase of electric cars would be cut by a quarter, or £1,000, while those for hybrid vehicles would be abolished. As no PHEV currently on sale in Britain meets this standard - most can travel only around 30-miles - the grant effectively now only benefits buyers of pure-electric cars.

Nicholas Lyes, the RAC's head of roads policy said the decision was a "major blow" to those hoping to "go green", adding that it made "little sense" in terms of lowering emissions.

By way of consolation, the government statement says "These vehicles will continue to receive support through lower auto tax rates, grants for charging infrastructure and local incentives (such as free parking)".

The government's changes mean the maximum grant for category one vehicles will be cut by £1,000 to £3,500, with grants for the remaining two categories scrapped completely.

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