Gov’t Plug-In Car Grant Cut – What the Hell is Going On?

There is no doubt what’s the biggest story in the retail motor sector at the moment – the Government’s amazingly stupid decision to cut the plug-in car grant and the van and truck grant. The incentive for EV owners has been cut from £3k to £2,500 and the upper price limit for eligible vehicles has been dropped.

Let’s just take that in.

At a time when the entire world is trying to develop a low/zero emission market and businesses are doubling their efforts to incentivise customers to invest in products that will help the environment…our Government comes up with the idea that reducing such incentives is a good thing.

Step forward Transport Minister Rachel Maclean.

Transport Minister Rachel Maclean

The announcement has sent manufacturers scurrying to see which, if any, of their vehicles can still qualify for the grant designed to encourage consumers to switch to eco-friendly transport.

And it has attracted criticism from all sorts of industry players.  Mike Hawes. Chief Exec at the SMMT pulled no punches: “The wrong move at the wrong time,” he said. 

Before we go off on one, let’s just see exactly what the Government said:

The grant scheme for electric cars, vans and trucks has been updated to target less expensive models and reflect a greater range of affordable vehicles available, allowing the scheme’s funding to go further and help more people make the switch to an electric vehicle.

From today (18 March 2021), the government will provide grants of up to £2,500 for electric vehicles on cars priced under £35,000.

This will mean the funding will last longer and be available to more drivers. Grants will no longer be available for higher-priced vehicles, typically bought by drivers who can afford to switch without a subsidy from taxpayers.

The full Department for Transport statement is here , plug-in car, van and truck grant to be targeted at more affordable models to allow more people to make the switch – GOV.UK

The NFDA immediately responded by wholeheartedly slamming the decision, labelling it ‘”extremely disappointing”, and that it “risks underlining the progress the UK has been making towards a zero-emission market”.

The real concern is that only the better-off buyer will now be able to afford a zero emission vehicle.

Of course, the grant was designed to counteract the fact that battery technology is simply more expensive than an ICE, but we (and the environment) need people to stop polluting the atmosphere with their cars.  So a grant to help ease them into non-ICE cars was a great idea.  Until the government then suddenly thought it wasn’t such a great idea.  For some reason that no-one can figure out.

Hawes says the slashing of the grant is bad for Britain:  “Cutting the grant and eligibility moves the UK even further behind other markets, markets which are increasing their support, making it more difficult for the UK to get sufficient supply.”

The NFDA spelt it out, that only the wealthy will be able to afford non-ICE cars and that’s just going to be enough to cut emissions:  “

“NFDA has repeatedly highlighted that we must avoid a situation where the least well-off drivers are deterred from buying a new, low-emission vehicle when the time comes to replace their old one”.

Britain, already struggling hit emission targets, now has to do so with one hand tied behind its back. Here at NTK Motors we ask ‘what the hell is going on?’