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(Pocket-lint) - The Department for Transport has announced that the UK Government's Plug-In Car Grant scheme has now ended, closing the small grant that was available to help people buy electric cars.

The scheme started as a fairly generous grant, offsetting some of the cost of electric vehicles in the early years. For those looking to buy the brand-new BMW i3 when it launched in 2013, for example, it was a reasonable saving.

Much to the chagrin of EV buyers, the thresholds and values of the grant have slowly been reduced over the years that it has been running, and it was clear that it was always designed to be a temporary grant

The change needs to be set in the context of the current car market. When the scheme started there were few options for electric cars and fewer options for charging: now there are wide-ranging options for electric car buyers, a growing infrastructure, as well as the looming 2030 date when the sale of new combustion cars will be banned.

There's still a gulf in price between traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and battery electric vehicles, but over the last year, the Plug-In Car Grant has only really been applicable to the cheapest models, with many opting to buy vehicles outside the threshold of the scheme.

Its removal will still mean there's an increase in pressure on those looking to buy the most affordable cars, who are likely to be the hardest pressed to be able to afford an EV and this problem is likely to remain, giving buoyancy to the much more affordable user car market for smaller ICE vehicles.

But the Government isn't completely removing the grant, claiming instead to be refocusing it, continuing to support sales of wheelchair accessible vehicles, taxis, vans and motorcycles.

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The UK Government will also now turn its focus to boosting public charging, something that's constantly under scrutiny. With increased numbers of electric vehicles on the road, the demands on charging facilities are rising especially on arterial roots, where real investment is needed to power electric vehicles into the future.

Writing by Chris Hall.
  • Source: Plug-in grant for cars to end as focus moves to improving electric vehicle charging - gov.uk
Sections Cars