In an effort to make buying an electric vehicle (EV) easier, the government offers an EV grant for buyers of cheaper new electric vehicles. Here’s how it works.
How much is the EV grant?
If you are buying a new EV, the government will give you £1,500 towards it. This is down from £2,500 last year and has steadily fallen from £5,000 when it was initially introduced in 2011.
The grant is only available on cars costing up to £32,000. And it is up to a maximum of 35% of the car’s value, although that’s fairly academic as no EV is cheap enough for 35% of its sticker price to represent anything less than £1,500.
How to claim the government EV grant
To claim the government EV grant you don’t need to do anything. The dealer will claim the money on your behalf after the sale has been made. It will take the amount of the grant off the vehicle’s asking price, if you are buying the car outright.
If you are using finance to buy the car, the EV grant will enable you to pay a smaller deposit or reduce your monthly payments.
What cars does the EV grant apply to?
The grant is officially called the plug-in grant, which is slightly confusing as it doesn’t apply to popular plug-in hybrid cars. It takes in all ‘approved’ vehicles that have zero tailpipe CO2 emissions and can travel at least 70 miles without any emissions.
Does that mean no Teslas?
The American firm’s products are too expensive for the grant to apply to them. Equally you can’t buy any electric Audi or BMW models.
Cars that are eligible include the Vauxhall Mokka-e and Corsa-e, Hyundai Kona, MG ZS, Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf.
As with many things to do with the government, it’s not as logical as it might be. For example, not all EVs costing less than £32,000 are eligible for the grant. There’s a list on this page of all the vehicles that can be bought with the grant.
Is the grant sufficient?
Let’s be honest, £1,500 isn’t going to make a massive difference for anyone who’s shelling out for a brand-new car. But even the smallest amount can help. Critics say that slashing the grant and effectively making EVs more expensive is the wrong move at the wrong time. They argue that people need incentives to buy EVs because their sticker prices are so much more expensive than conventional petrol or diesel cars.
Vans are a bit different
You can get up to £5,000 off electric vans that have a gross vehicle weight of 2,500-4,250kg, have CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km, and can travel at least 60 miles with no tailpipe emissions.
This includes vans such as the Fiat e-Ducato and Vauxhall Vivaro-e.
Smaller vans that are less than 2,500kg gross vehicle weight with CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km that can drive 60 miles without emissions are eligible for a grant of up to £2,500.
Vans such as the Citroen e-Berlingo and Vauxhall Combo-e are included in the list.
I’ve been writing about cars and motoring for more than 25 years. My career started on a long-departed classic car weekly magazine called AutoClassic. I’ve since pitched up at Autosport, Auto Express, the News of the World, Sunday Times and most recently the Daily Telegraph. When I’m not writing about cars and motoring, I’m probably doing some kind of sport or working in my garden.