Ditching fossil fuel vehicles will be necessary for the UK to achieve its goal of net zero emissions by 2050. That’s why you won’t be able to buy a new petrol or diesel car or van after 2030, with hybrids to be phased out from 2035. Instead, we’ll use zero-emissions electric vehicles.
While the take-up of electric vehicles is accelerating, they still account for just a fraction of new car sales. And although electricity is cheaper than petrol or diesel, EVs are still more expensive to buy than fossil fuel cars.
So, to incentivise more widespread adoption of electric vehicles and boost the market, the government offers buyers grants – chiefly the electric car grant, also called the plug-in grant.
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The electric car grant, also called the plug-in car grant, is a £1,500 subsidy on new zero-emissions cars priced under £32,000. The grant is designed to bring the purchase price of electric cars more in line with their internal combustion engine equivalents, and thus stimulate the market for these vehicles. Around 20 car models currently on the market are eligible for the grant.
Plug-in grants are also available to reduce the cost of electric vans, trucks, taxis, motorcycles, and mopeds.
The grants are available to individuals and businesses through the Department for Transport and the Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles.
Currently, the electric car grant is set at £1,500, after being reduced over the last few years.
When the grant was launched in 2011, it covered up to 35% of an EV’s purchase price, with a maximum grant of £5,000. But as electric vehicles have fallen in price and have been more widely adopted, the government has cut the subsidies, most recently reducing the grant for cars from £2,500 to £1,500, in December 2021. Although less generous than it used to be, the electric car grant can still helpfully reduce the price of a new EV.
You can also receive a grant of £2,500 toward the cost of a wheelchair-accessible electric vehicle costing less than £35,000, with the higher figures reflecting the higher purchase price of vehicles that can be converted.
Plug-in grants aren’t just limited to cars. The government is also subsidising the purchase of other electric vehicles:
You’ll be eligible for an electric car grant if you’re purchasing a new pure electric vehicle with a recommended retail price of less than £32,000, including VAT and delivery fees. These vehicles must have zero tailpipe CO2 emissions and be able to travel at least 112 km (70 miles) without any emissions, ruling out hybrids.
Some popular electric vehicles, including the UK’s best-selling EV, the Tesla Model 3, are priced at more than £32,000 and therefore aren’t eligible for the grant.
But many popular electric cars are eligible, including:
For the full list of eligible vehicles, including eligible wheelchair-accessible vehicles, motorcycles, mopeds, taxis, vans, and trucks, see the government’s website.
Additionally, the government caps the number of grants it will hand out in certain categories each year (running from 1 April to 31 March). So, even if you’re otherwise eligible, you may not receive a grant if they’ve all been claimed. You can email the Department for Transport to find out how many grants remain at [email protected]
You don’t have to apply for the electric car grant. If you’re purchasing an eligible vehicle, the dealership supplying the car will complete the paperwork for the grant on your behalf. You will then receive an automatic discount on the price.
The government has committed to offering the plug-in grant through 31 March 2023. It’s unknown if the government will continue the programme past that date and/or if it will reduce the amount of the grants, as it has done regularly over the last few years.
Yes. To ensure you can charge your electric vehicle at home, the government’s Office for Low Emissions Vehicles also runs the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS). The EVHS offers grants of up to £350 to cover up to 75% of the cost of purchasing and installing a home charging point.
Charge points at home are the cheapest and most convenient way to power up your electric vehicle. They cost an average of £850, although slower chargers can be as cheap as £300.
However, the rules on who is eligible for the home charging grants are changing on 31 March 2022. Previously, all EV owners could apply for one charge point per eligible vehicle, with a maximum of two grants per household.
But from 1 April 2022, only owners of leasehold flats and people in rental accommodation will be able to receive the grant. Owners of single-unit properties, including detached, semi-detached, terraced homes, or bungalows won’t be eligible. The change is to overcome one of the key barriers of EV adoption in densely populated urban areas, specifically flat-dwellers struggling to install their own charge points.
If you own a leasehold flat, you’ll be eligible for the grant if you own an electric vehicle with CO2 emissions below 50g/km and are having an OLEV-approved home charger fitted. The charge point supplier will fill out the paperwork to claim the grant payment and pass it on to you in the form of a discount.
Landlords can submit up to 200 applications per year to the OLEV for a maximum grant of £70,000. However, each property they apply for must have private parking.
Additionally, businesses, charities, and public authorities can claim the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) grant, covering 75% of the total cost of purchasing and installing EV charge-points, capped at a maximum of £350 per socket and 40 sockets per applicant across all sites.