It was recently announced that the government had withdrawn the plug-in car grant. This was meant to provide £1500 off to anybody looking to buy an electric car.
Obviously, withdrawing the grant has led to significant discussion and attracted quite a bit of attention, which makes it important to understand. It’s definitely an interesting situation, in part because it seems to run contrary to the government‘s initial plan to get as many people as possible to drive an electric vehicle.
So, the scheme was introduced to give people up to £1500 off buying electric vehicles. All ongoing applications for the grant will be honoured. In the event that the car was sold up to 2 working days before the announcement, but the dealership hadn’t submitted an application for the grant at that time, that sale will also still qualify for the grant, so there is a transition period.
The grant has helped to improve the sales of electric cars in the last few years, taking it from 1000 in 2011 up to nearly 100,000 cars sold in the first half of 2022.
The government hasn’t been silent regarding the decision. Trudy Harrison, the transport minister, went on record saying that
“The Government continues to invest record amounts in the transition to EVs, with £2.5 billion injected since 2020 and has set the most ambitious phase-out dates for new diesel and petrol sales of any major country.
However, Government funding must always be invested where it has the highest impact if that success story is to continue. 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.”
Now obviously, this is a major blow to the EV industry. The grant helped a lot of people get access to these vehicles and made a substantial difference in their lives. Of course, there are other plans in place right now for the future - phasing out petrol/diesel vehicles in the next decade, for example. Therefore, it would be logical to assume there are more schemes and plans coming soon to make the vehicles available for everyone. Otherwise, why discontinue the scheme?
The end of the £1500 scheme is disappointing; however, it does point towards more schemes coming in the future. As we move towards ending our reliance on fossil fuels, it will be necessary to improve EV-related grants to make them accessible. It would be logical to conclude that there are more schemes coming in the future, which will help to make electric vehicles more affordable. After all, the cost is the biggest roadblock to introducing a new method of transportation on a widespread basis. The discontinuing of this scheme may seem disappointing at first, but we believe it points towards more in the future.