The Plug-In Hybrid Grant is About to Be Slashed

By Holly Brockwell on at

If you've been trying to decide between a hybrid and an electric, the government's just basically made the decision for you: the financial incentives for buying a hybrid are to be slashed.

The Plug-In Car Grant (PICG) was introduced in 2011 as a way to encourage people to buy more environmentally-responsible cars, and has supported more than 160,000 purchases. Now, the government has announced that Category 2 (CO₂ emissions under 50g/km and a zero emission range of 10-69 miles) and Category 3 cars (CO₂ emissions of 50-75g/km and a zero emission range of 20 miles+) are no longer eligible for the the grant, and Category 1 cars (CO₂ emissions of under 50g/km and a zero emission range of at least 70 miles) will have their grant cut by £1,000 to £3,500.

By way of consolation, the government statement says "These vehicles will continue to receive support through lower car tax rates, grants for charging infrastructure and local incentives (such as free parking)."

The reason for the cut is basically that a sweetener is not needed anymore – people are buying hybrids of their own volition:

"With plug-in hybrid models like the Mitsubishi Outlander becoming popular among consumers the government is focussing its attention to zero emission models such as the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3."

And electric prices have come down:

"A new grant rate for category 1 vehicles will be set at £3,500 to reflect the recent reductions in the price of electric vehicles."

Mitsubishi UK has responded with "surprise and disappointment," with UK MD Rob Lindley commenting that "the decision to suddenly end grant support for some of the greenest vehicles on the road is extremely disappointing"

The new rates come into effect on the 9th of November unless sales are higher than expected, in which case the government says it might bring them in earlier. So if you've been stalling on a hybrid, you might want to get your skates on. [Reuters]

Main image: Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid by mariordo59 via Flickr CC.