The plug-in car grant has been cut to £1,500 | Top Gear
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The plug-in car grant has been cut to £1,500

Yup, our cheapest electric cars got £1,000 more expensive overnight

Published: 15 Dec 2021

Remember when the government cut the plug-in car grant earlier this year? Well strap in for a dose of deja vu, because the handy discount that’s been helping drive EV sales to record levels has been slashed again.

As of today, the maximum grant you can get towards the cost of a new electric car is £1,500, down from £2,500 last night and £3,000 at the start of 2021.

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It now only applies to cars costing less than £32,000 as well, whereas previously vehicles priced under £35,000 would qualify. That means several versions of the Kia e-Niro, Volkswagen ID.3, BMW i3, Skoda Enyaq iV, Vauxhall Mokka-e, Peugeot e-208 and the e-2008 will all now be more expensive than before, as will many more of our favourite electric cars.

“The market is charging ahead in the switch to electric vehicles,” said Transport Minister Trudy Harrison. “This, together with the increasing choice of new vehicles and growing demand from customers, means that we are refocusing our vehicle grants on the more affordable vehicles and reducing grant rates to allow more people to benefit, and enable taxpayers’ money to go further.”

According to the government’s statement there are around 20 zero-emission vehicles that are supported by the grant, and it believes its strategy of focusing on only the cheapest cars will help divert much needed funding to the UK’s charging infrastructure.

Data released by the SMMT (that’s the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) earlier this month shows that electric-car sales have skyrocketed in 2021, up by 89 per cent on the previous year.

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The government claims around one in 10 cars - around 150,000 vehicles - registered in the UK have featured a plug, although this figure will include the sales of plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Other changes to the scheme include £5,000 and £2,500 discounts for large and small vans respectively, with a limit of 1,000 units annually aimed at big businesses with equally big fleets.

Zero-emission motorcycles get up to a £500 discount and mopeds up to £150, capped at a value of £10,000. Apparently 50 per cent of mopeds sold this year have been battery-electric models. Who knew?

Meanwhile the previous electric-car grant levels have been retained for vehicles that are wheelchair accessible.

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