As sales of electric and hybrid vehicles rise by a third over 2015, the government may review the plug-in grant that incentivises buyers
24 March 2016

The government may review its plug-in vehicle grant for Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVS) due to the high uptake of cars that qualify for the scheme.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show a total of 3352 ULEV vehicles have been registered so far this year - a rise of 37.2% compared with 2015.

It has been reported that more than 11,000 applications for grants were received in February alone, prompting speculation that the government could change its plug-in grant scheme.

While the government has already pledged to continue offering the grant until 2018, a review of the service is planned for next year. A Department for Transport spokesman told Autocar that the government was "constantly monitoring the market for changes. If the new tier system shows a large change in sales we may need to look at it to ensure the £400 million pot of taxpayer's money is spent in the right way."

When the scheme was launched in 2011, motorists could get up to £5000 back on their electric or hybrid purchase, but in March this year, the scheme changed. Now, cars fall into three categories depending on how clean they are, and how far they can travel on electric power.

Currently, cars that produce less than 50g/km of CO2 and can travel at least 70 miles on electric power receive a grant of up to £4500, and are placed in Category One. Cars that produce less than 50g/km of CO2 and can travel between 10-69 miles on electric power get a maximum of £2500 (Category Two), and the same applies to cars that emit between 50 and 75g/km of CO2 and can travel at least 20 miles on electric power (Category Three).

Cars that cost more than £60,000 are not eligible for the Category Two or Three grant.

Danni Bagnall 

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24 March 2016
In Switzerland, the Tesla Model S outsells all its luxury rivals, despite there being no financial incentives for low emission vehicles. Perhaps there's a shift in the market, which grants can only partly explain.

27 March 2016
Contradiction in terms in the above statement, Quote: "Currently, cars that produce less than 50g/km of CO2 and can travel at least 70 miles on electric power receive a grant of up to £4500", doesn't that in-fact mean it qualifies for 'Category One' because it has no CO2 output and can travel around a claimed 300 miles anyway, so it doesn't fit into Category Two or Three anyway, else all categories bar grants above £60k

28 March 2016
The Tesla Model S is a category 1 vehicle. Category 1 vehicles don't have a price cap so will qualify for the full £4500. Details here

28 March 2016
Cars that cost more than £60,000 are ineligible for Category 2 or 3 grants. There are no caps for Category 1 vehicles such as the Tesla Model S.

28 March 2016
A Mercedes Benz S Class plugin costing £88k would be a better example as it is a category 3 vehicle.

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