The Government has scrapped the grant for electric cars and plug-in hybrids making these vehicles more expensive to buy.
From November 12 motorists looking to buy a low and zero emissions hybrid and electric car will be ineligible to receive the current £2,500 and £4,500 grants respectively.
From this date, plug-in hybrids will be exempt from the grant while electric car buyers will receive £1,000 less and receive £3,500 instead.
The Department for Transport (DfT) and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) made the announcements that the Category 2 and 3 grants will end in November.
Effectively the new grant will only offer discounts to fully electric cars.
A number of categories are used to categorise ultra-low emissions vehicles:
Category 1: CO₂ emissions of less than 50g/km and a zero emission range of at least 70 miles
Category 2: CO₂ emissions of less than 50g/km and a zero emission range between 10 and 69 miles
Category 3: CO₂ emissions of 50 to 75g/km and a zero emission range of at least 20 miles.
Only Category 1 cars now benefit from the discount and the Government said that the cut grant reflects the reduced price of electric cars over recent months.
Motoring officials have condemned the move to slash the hybrid grants with Mike Hawes from the SMMT saying it “sends yet more confusing signals to car buyers”.
He added: ”Prematurely removing up-front purchase grants can have a devastating impact on demand – without world-class incentives, government’s world-class ambitions will not be delivered.”
The RAC’s head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes described it as a “major blow” for motorists looking to make an EV or PHEV their next vehicle.
“With up-front costs still a huge barrier for those hoping to switch to an electric vehicle, this move from the government is a big step backwards and is in stark contrast to countries like Norway where generous tax incentives have meant that it has one of the highest ownership levels of ultra-low emission vehicles of anywhere in the world.”
Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA says; “The Government wants to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars, but scrapping grants for low emission cars may well stall their progress.
“This announcement will simply put more drivers off from buying greener cars.
“Rather than give consumers excuses to shy away from the greenest possible option, Government needs to provide reasons and incentives to convince drivers hybrid and electric cars are the way forward.
“At a time when air quality is of great concern, those who bought diesels in good faith, and with Government encouragement, will feel they have been given the cold shoulder rather than a helping hand.”
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