Currently reading: Which electric cars no longer qualify for a grant in the UK?
Government has lowered cut-off to £35,000, meaning you now have to pay full price for these EVs
3 mins read
19 March 2021

The big news yesterday was the government's shock announcement that it has cut its EV grant from £3000 to £2500 and that only sub-£35,000 cars are now eligible. 

Previously, the threshold was at £50,000, so new and upcoming entries such as the Volkswagen ID 4 and Ford Mustang Mach-E would have been eligible, but it's now only the more affordable EV entries that can take advantage.

Here are the models that previously qualified for a sizeable discount - but which are now effectively £3000 more expensive at point of purchase as a result of the change.

BMW i3

Just two weeks ago, BMW hiked up prices for its eight-year-old electric hatchback, raising the entry cost to £39,690 before application of the grant. Now even this most affordable option falls outside the new threshold, raising questions over its longevity on the UK market. 

DS 3 Crossback E-Tense

Stellantis's plush electric crossover still qualifies for the grant – just – but only in its Prestige (£34,000) and Performance Line (£34,400) guises. The Performance Line+ and limited-run Inès de la Fressange models command a premium and are thus ineligible. 

Hyundai Kona Electric

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The government highlighted the Kona as one of the accessible EVs that remain eligible for a subsidy but neglected to mention that the more usable 64kWh variant - with its 300 miles of range - is now out of grasp for grant-hunters. The 179-mile 39kWh variant remains eligible.

Kia e-Niro

It's a similar story for the Kona's Kia sibling, which can now only be bought at the discounted price in entry-level 2 trim, though both the 39kWh battery pack and larger 64kWh pack remain available. 

Kia Soul EV 

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Kia's more style-focused electric crossover, the Soul EV, is currently only available in the UK in highly specified First Edition form, which packs a hefty kit list and the e-Niro's 64kWh battery, and costs £37,545. It remains to be seen if cheaper and shorter-range variants will bring the price down below £35,000. 

Nissan Leaf e+

The Leaf was one of the first properly mass-market electric cars, and is now well into its second generation. However, under the new government rules, only the standard range 49kWh model will qualify for an EV grant. The longer-range e+ version, which has a larger 62kWh battery, no longer qualifies.

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Polestar 2

A model that was priced right on the borderline of the old plug-in car grant, the £49,990 Polestar 2 now loses out on any government incentive.

The luxury electric hatchback is essentially sold as a single trim level, with the £5000 Performance pack adding uprated suspension, brakes and alloy wheels but retaining the same dual-motor powertrain and 78kWh battery. That meant customers happy to stick to the standard specification were getting a lot of car for their money.

Tesla Model 3

Some might argue that Tesla’s most affordable model was the car the government had in mind when choosing the new cut-off point for its EV grant. The Model 3 was one of the UK’s best-selling new cars in 2020, regularly topping monthly sales charts over established ICE models such as the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Golf.

Under the new rules, however, neither the entry-level Standard Range Plus nor dual-motor Long Range versions qualify. The top-end Performance was already exempt under the previous system, as it retails for more than £50,000.

Tesla is currently offering to take the £2500 plug-in car grant value off the list price of a Standard Range Plus or Long Range for customers buying from existing inventory. The offer is valid until the end of March.


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Peter Cavellini 21 March 2021

They won't be selling them as long as furlough continues, and, remember, we're still getting our heads round Brexit, £35k is in some parts of the country a lot of money for a new set of Wheels,and as said, I think because of that, the second hand market might be more buoyant?

MikeeG 21 March 2021
In a strange way it might actually force the manufacturers to reduce their prices as they are over charging for all of their ranges as the prices of batteries etc. are much lower now and will be so manufacturers need to reduce prices themselves. Oh and we will be building our own battery Gigafactories. Yes I agree it's a bit counter intuitive but I do think manufacturers were getting greedy. I believe Citroen has already responded by reducing the price of the eC4 so I guess it he rest will do the same or simply take the £3000 of themselves....
Tonrichard 21 March 2021

Furthermore, Carlos Tavares, Stellantis CEO said that the Govt’s decision to suddenly bring forward the date to ban ICE’s to 2030 - ahead of most other European countries - was a critical step in his company having to reappraise the decision to invest in producing the next generation of the Vauxhall Astra at Ellesmere Port because they could not see a business case for a relatively short term return. No major battery production capacity in the UK - we see being left behind by the Europeans who also offer bigger grants to EV buyers. Govt seem to have either no strategy or incoherent strategy to encourage the adoption of EVs. Plug in Grant already abolished for vehicles costing over £50k but as those will often be company owned or leased vehicles their drivers will already be getting the gain from virtually no BIK tax. I don’t want to seem to be political and I understand the pressure on Govt finances but this latest change seems to me to be a knee jerk reaction to the increasing cost of the plug in grant. I don’t think the £500 per car reduction is a killer but another £3000 on the purchase prices - which will no doubt be reflected in monthly financing rates - must certainly deter those on the cusp of making the switch.