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Government scraps electric car grants as 2030 deadline gets closer

By Tom Gibson | June 15, 2022

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Just as the price of fuel is soaring and as green campaigners continually push motorists to less environmentally damaging forms of transport, the Government has completely scrapped all-electric car grants – effective immediately.

Government scraps electric car grants as 2030 deadline gets closer

Even though the grant itself had taken a battering in recent years and now only stood at a meager £1,500, the decision to wipe the incentive completely has understandably been met with backlash. 

The Department for Transport has taken the move so funding can now be  "refocussed" towards improving electric vehicle charging. 

But the Government doesn't want a lack of incentive to mean sales of electric cars slow. Quite the opposite. 

Instead, it's preparing a "zero-emissions vehicle mandate" that will, in effect, punish manufacturers for not selling a high enough percentage of electric vehicles, and hit them with a hefty fine. So the onus to keep the electric wheels turning is very much on the manufacturers themselves.

The grant scheme started in 2011 and was designed to make buying new electric vehicles more affordable by providing a discount and it has been used to buy nearly 500,000 cars over the past decade. 

Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said: "Having successfully kickstarted the electric car market, we now want to use Plug-in Grants to match that success across other vehicle types, from taxis to delivery vans and everything in between, to help make the switch to zero-emission travel cheaper and easier." 

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, which represents carmakers, said the decision to scrap the grant "sends the wrong message to motorists and to an industry which remains committed to government's net-zero ambition” and warned that the UK was "now the only major European market to have zero upfront purchase incentives for EV car buyers yet the most ambitious plans for uptake".

Hawes also said that the decision came at the worst possible time because the sector was not yet in recovery, and all manufacturers were "about to be mandated to sell significantly more EVs than current demand indicates".

He called for the government to compel massive investment in the charging network quickly, at a scale beyond anything so far announced, if targets were to be hit. 

Do you think it's the right move? Let us know in the comments below.

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