Government moves to reduce the financial incentives available for plug-in hybrids have prompted discussion as to the effect it will have on the growing demand for such vehicles.
Since 2011 the Plug-In Car Grant (PICG) has provided a grant towards the purchase of a suitable vehicle, and government figures suggest that some 160,000 purchases have received discount as a result. But on October 11, funding changes were announced that were aimed at directing incentives away from plug-in hybrids and towards electric-only models such as the BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf. The incentive will disappear entirely for so-called category 2 and category 3 vehicles – those which are capable of travelling less than 70 miles on electric power – while the grant for Category 1 vehicles which can travel over 70 miles on electric power and emit less than 50g/km CO2 will be reduced from £4500 to £3500.
The rate changes are to take effect on November 9, with orders that have already been submitted to the OLEV receiving the grant at the old rates. Clearly this hits some makers harder than others, with the old system having contributed significantly to Mitsubishi’s recent success in the UK market thanks to its Outlander PHEV. “The decision to suddenly end grant support for some of the greenest vehicles on the road is extremely disappointing,” commented Mitsubishi Motors UK’s Managing Director Rob Lindley. The firm’s statement also pointed out that the UK’s charging network is “nowhere near evolved enough” to support widespread use of pure EVs.