Plug-in grant extended until March 2018
There is good news for those thinking of making the switch to all-electric or hybrid propulsion in the near future, as the government has agreed to extend its grant on these vehicles until March 2018.
Rather than the blanket £5,000 subsidy that is currently in operation, the grant will be split into two separate rates from March 1 2016 onwards.
Vehicles classed as Category 1 must adhere to a strict policy of a zero-emissions range beyond 70 miles, and are eligible for the full £4,500 grant. This includes not just electric but also hydrogen cars, such as the Toyota Mirai, for the first time.
Classes 2 and 3 will be applicable to those vehicles with a zero-emissions range of less than 70-miles and these will receive £2,500. This includes many current hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, which feature both an internal combustion engine and electric motors.
There is bad news for customers looking to purchase premium plug-in hybrids, such as the Porsche Panamera S-E Hybrid or the Mercedes-Benz GLE 500e, as the grant will not apply to Category 2 and 3 vehicles that cost over £60,000.
However, the grant still applies to Category 1 vehicles with a list price over £60,000, which includes many offerings from premium electric manufacturer Tesla, for example.
The government says the move has been made to encourage more customers to adopt alternative fuel vehicles and it predicts some 100,000 motorists will benefit in the coming years.
The grant, which was first introduced in 2011, has already seen about 50,000 low emission vehicles – mainly electric but also hybrid and hydrogen powered – sold at big discounts to consumers.
Jim Wright, managing director of Nissan GB, which has invested £420m in developing its best-selling electric car, the Leaf, told The Guardian: "This announcement, together with ongoing infrastructure developments, should see the growth and wider deployment of this technology continue."