The UK Government has closed the plug-in car grant scheme to new orders after successfully kickstarting the UK’s EV revolution and supporting the sale of nearly half a million cars. Quadrant Transport looks at how funding will expand the public charge point network.
Helping to increase the sales of fully electric cars from less than 1,000 in 2011 to almost 100,000 in the first five months of 2022 alone, the scheme has created a mature market for ultra-low emission vehicles. Battery and hybrid EVs now make up more than half of all new cars sold, with fully electric car sales rising by 70 per cent in the last year, now representing one in six new cars joining UK roads.
It comes after it was outlined in the UK Government’s ‘The Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution‘ that the UK will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, with all new cars and vans being fully zero emission from 2035.
Grant Funding Will Now Be Refocused Towards Extending Plug-In Grants
Funding is now being refocused by the UK Government towards the main barriers to the EV transition, including public charging and supporting the purchase of other road vehicles where the switch to electric requires further development.
To continue the government’s drive toward net zero and the aim of effective use of taxpayer funds, £300 million in grant funding will now be refocused towards extending plug-in grants to boost sales of plug-in taxis, motorcycles, vans and trucks and wheelchair-accessible vehicles, as announced in the autumn statement.
Allowing the government’s funding to target expanding the public charge point network, helping to eradicate “range anxiety” and ensuring that the transition to zero-emission transport is easy and convenient for all drivers across the UK, the shift in focus is necessary. To build the UK’s public charge point network, the government has already committed £1.6 billion.
Drivers Will Benefit From Savings In Running Costs
Significant savings in running costs for EVs compared to petrol and diesel equivalents are said to often exceed the current £1,500 value of the grant, and the aim is that electric car drivers will benefit from incentives including zero road tax and favourable company car tax rates, which is said to save drivers over £2,000 a year.
It is explained by the government that all existing applications for the grant will continue to be honoured and where a car has been sold in the two working days before the announcement, but an application for the grant from dealerships has not yet been made, the sale will also still qualify for the grant.
The Funding Will Support Decarbonising Transport
Transport Minister, Trudy Harrison, said: “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. But 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.
“With billions of both government and industry investment continuing to be pumped into the UK’s electric revolution, the sale of electric vehicles is soaring.”
We are continuing to lead the way in decarbonising transport, with generous government incentives still in place, while creating high-skilled jobs and cleaner air across the UK.
Supporting the uptake of electric cars over the past decade, the government’s measures have helped exceed electric car projections, with 39,000 new EV registrations in March 2022 – more than in the whole of 2019.
Since its inception in 2011, the government’s plug-in car grant has provided over £1.4 billion and supported the purchase of nearly half a million clean vehicles.
A new public evaluation report has been recently published which highlights that while the plug-in grant was vital in building the early market for EVs, it has since been having less of an effect on demand, with other existing price incentives such as company car tax, continuing to have an important impact.
In addition to this, the report found that the plug-in van market will benefit from grant incentives more to support businesses and their fleets in making the switch.
Better Public Charging Points Will Be Provided
While benefitting from significantly lower running and refuelling costs which are as low as 2p per mile, EV drivers can also expect to see a surge in cheaper, more reliable, and quicker public charge points. This comes after the government hope to install 10 times more on-street chargers by 2030.
Since 2020, the government has committed £2.5 billion to plug-in vehicle grants, infrastructure, and the wider transition to EVs in the UK.
The industry now is further boosting the switch to greener vehicles by expanding its range of more affordable zero emission cars. A total of 24 models are currently priced under £32,000, compared to just 15 a year ago, and the cost of monthly purchase and rental schemes has fallen significantly.