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(Pocket-lint) - The Department for Transport has announced a change to the UK's plug-in car grant - PICG - which will see many electric cars now effectively being £3000 more expensive for customers.

The PICG has evolved, from what was a pretty generous incentive in the early parts of the last decade, slowly shifting the conditions around as more electric cars have come to market.

The new move reduces the car price cap to £35,000, while reducing the grant to £2,500. Previously it was £3,000 on cars up to £50,000; before that it was £3,500.

The shift in the upper price cap means that number of models will now be excluded: the Tesla Model 3, for example, now falls outside the threshold, with the government argument being that people who can afford this car, probably don't need the subsidy.

Regardless, with more cars available in lower price brackets - Citroën ëC4, Mini Electric, Peugeot e208, Vauxhall Corsa-e, Honda e, etc - the argument is that these should be the beneficiaries of the PICG rather than those spending in the more premium segment.

That argument holds to a degree, but the reduction of the grant by £500 in the same sense does not: the price of these cheaper models has just gone up by £500 compared to last week.

The government is also claiming credit for the increased sales of electric cars, saying: "Government measures to encourage people to switch to electric vehicles are also working, with nearly 11% of new cars sold in 2020 having a plug. This was up from just over 3% in 2019."

We'll leave you to decide whether people are moving towards EVs because the government is encouraging them to do so, or because there's a widening selection of models at a wider range of price points, electric charging points are becoming more widespread, and many drivers recognise that switching to electric can allow them to play their part in reducing their personal carbon footprint.

Not to mention that electric cars are great fun to drive.

While some will be disappointed by the news, the grant was always a temporary measure. Inevitably the price of electric cars will fall as more models come to market and battery technologies scale up, but many will feel the reduction in this grant is counterproductive considering the plan to ban new combustion car sales by 2030

The best electric cars 2021: Top battery-powered vehicles available on UK roads

You can always read about some of the electric cars we rate the highest, right here.

Writing by Chris Hall. Originally published on 18 March 2021.
  • Source: Plug-in car, van and truck grant to be targeted at more affordable models to allow more people to make the switch - gov.uk
Sections Cars