United Kingdom government slashes subsidies for hybrid and electric cars

Volkswagen Golf GTE

Government scraps plug-in car grant for hybrids

"Seven out of 10 (69%**) of drivers say grants are necessary to buy an ultra-low emission vehicle until such time that the price compared to a conventional petrol or diesel auto is the same".

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 auto buyers".

Government moves to abolish grants for plug-in hybrid cars have been slammed across the United Kingdom automotive industry.

In a statement, Mitsubishi (the maker of the UK's best-selling plug-in hybrid, the Outlander PHEV) said: "As motorists seek a low-emission, fuel efficient alternative to diesel vehicles, now should be the ideal time for the Government to incentivise Plug-in hybrid technology, not pull its support".

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

In a statement, the firm said it was now "the ideal time" to offer increased plug-in incentives, because "such technology forms the flawless segue between conventional petrol and diesel powered and full electric vehicles, particularly as the charging network is nowhere near evolved enough to support widespread full EV use".

"Removing the grant for plug-in hybrids is totally at odds with already challenging ambitions for Carbon dioxide reduction and sends yet more confusing signals to auto buyers".

It has also only committed to fund the "next 35,000 of the cleanest vehicles", according to the official announcement, suggesting that rusgh to cash-in on the current ULEV grant rates could prompt and earlier adoption of the cuts.

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Lyes said that up-front cost was still a huge barrier for those hoping to switch to an electric vehicle - a fact underlined by the recent NFDA Consumer Attitude Survey - before describing the Government's move as "a big step backwards".

John Pryor, ACFO Chairman commented; "The government's decision to reduce financial support for plug-in vehicles is, quite frankly bonkers".

Though the scheme has helped increase the uptake of hybrid auto ownership (according to the DfT, over 160,000 cars have been bought using the grant since it was introduced in 2011), alternatively-powered cars still make up a small portion of new vehicle sales in the UK.

Up to the end of August, 8,980 pure EVs had been registered, compared with 9,030 in the first eight months of 2018 - a fall of 0.6%.

But motoring groups denounced the changes, saying it would leave the government struggling to meet its emissions reduction targets.

Last year, 53,203 new ULEVs were registered in the United Kingdom, up 27% from 41,837 units in 2016.

"The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is only one of a small number of plug-in hybrids still on sale thanks to its WLTP economy figure of 139mpg, emissions of 46g/km and an EV range of 28 miles".

Doubts over the future the plug-in vehicle grant were first raised by HonestJohn.co.uk in May 2018, when a freedom of information request on the scheme's funding was flatly rejected by the Department for Transport. Mitsubishi has expressed its "surprise and disappointment" at the decision, saying it said was "completely at odds" with the objective of making the United Kingdom a world leader in green mobility. And eight out of 10 (83%) say that the high purchase price of electric and hybrid cars is the main stumbling block to owning such a vehicle.

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