Switching to electric cars has been the latest trend during the past ten years - and we know it makes sense, considering that the benefits of switching to electric vehicles (EVs) are innumerable. EVs produce zero exhaust emissions, meaning they don't generate any harmful exhaust gasses, helping to keep cities clean and less polluted. And although the initial purchase of the vehicle itself tends to be more expensive than for conventional cars, the reduced running costs, battery range and driving experience make it worthwhile in the long run. 


If you decide that what you need in 2022 is a new car, and if you are determined to abandon your old diesel or petrol sucking vehicle to switch to a more environmentally friendly solution, you will be astonished to learn about how vastly the universe of electric vehicles (EV) is expanding. And one of the first details you will probably discover is that these types of cars tend to be more expensive than their diesel and petrol counterparts. With prices rising in 2022 and with the advent of a year that promises to be costly and austere, particularly in terms of household expenses, knowing that you have support from the Government for costs related to your vehicle that will ease your needs while taking care of the environment is undoubtedly good news. 


The Government created these grants to facilitate the purchase of a new electric vehicle - it's basically like the cycle to work scheme, but for electric cars. 


So you’ll probably be happy to know that the Government plug-in car grant automatically provides a discount of £1500 if you are purchasing an electric car. But how does it work exactly? And which cars are legible? Our Karfu guide will lead you through all you need to know to apply for a car grant scheme.


What is the plug-in car grant?


The plug-in car grant, also known as the electric car grant, is available to all buyers of eligible cars, vans and motorcycles. This project is operated by the Office of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV), responsible for these grants. Grants are available to reduce any initial purchase cost of eligible plug-in cars and the fees and installations of charging points. 


Since its date of introduction, which was 2011, the project was meant to encourage drivers of diesel cars to move from petrol to electric, helping them cushion the costs of such change when switching to electric and plug-ins. In addition to 'the grant', lower road tax (VED) and company car tax have been introduced to encourage access to the green world; in fact, these initiatives are part of the Government plan to reach zero net emission by 2050. 


The initiative aims to lower the price of electric new zero-emission vehicles to make them accessible to a buyer that would otherwise invest the same amount of money on a petrol or diesel alternative - basically trying to fictitiously change the cost of the car so more consumers can buy it, consequently making a more considerable contribution to the environment. Due to the battery technology that is still pretty expensive, bringing the prices down would reduce buyers' tech costs to the same level as conventional engines. According to the Government, more than £1.5bn has been allocated toward purchasing around 285,000 vehicles already. 


How much can I get?


When it was first introduced, you could get up to £5000, providing a max of 35% off the list price for an electric or a plug-in hybrid vehicle. In 2018 it was cut by £1000 lowering to 4000 pounds, excluding plug-in cars and remaining available only for zero-emission cars with an electric range of 70 miles and more. Since then, it has been reduced each year by 500, dropping in December 2021 to £1500. The price cap, which was £35000, was also reduced to £32000.


According to the Government, the cutback is aimed at 'reflecting a greater range of affordable vehicles available' and promoting the purchase of a broader range and models of electric cars that were introduced on the market during the past years. This lower amount would be distributed more widely, and grants would no longer be available for higher-priced vehicles, allowing more people to take advantage of the discount and afford to smoothly switch, instead of allowing drivers who can afford to change anyway to receive the grant. 


Although it might have become more miniature, figures and research show that the demand for EVs has significantly increased in recent years. Despite that, prices of EVs are still challenging and substantially higher than petrol and diesel cars - and the price is a significant factor for many reasons. 


The plug-in vehicle grant provides up to:

  • Up to a maximum of £1500, provided the car has zero tailpipe CO2 emissions and can cover at least 112 Km (70 miles) with zero waste emissions.

  • 35% of the cost of a small van up to a max of £2,500, or 35% of the costs of a large van up to a maximum of £5,000

  • 35% of the price of a motorcycle, up to a max of £500

  • 35% of the cost of a moped, up to a maximum of £150


The grant is automatically deducted from the retail price when an eligible vehicle is purchased, so there is no additional paperwork to complete. So if your explicit intention for 2022 is to buy a new car and would like to apply for the grant, there is nothing you have to do rather than go to your car dealer and choose the model - he will supply you with all the necessary paperwork and information and directly deduct the discount provided by the Government, giving you all the info to apply for the payment on your behalf - it's all automatic. 


Will the car grant stop at some point?


The Government agreed upon these regulations to last until 2023, allowing an exciting incentive for new car buyers. As the amount offered dropped annually since 2018, there are high chances that a cut will reduce the incentive's amount (following the trend in vehicle prices, which will tend to fall over time). 

Are there other car grants and incentives if I want to switch to electric?


Yes. If you are purchasing an EV, you will be able to apply for a grant of up to £350 that can be put towards the cost of installing a home charging point. The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) is wholly used to reduce the demanding cost of purchasing and installing a home charging point. If you own an EV, you can apply for one charge point per eligible vehicle with a maximum of two cars per household. An interest-free electric vehicle loan and used electric vehicle loan are also available if you live in Scotland.


The regulations on grant applications have been recently changed on 31 March 2022, with a change in who can be available to apply for a grant in 2022. The new body of law confirms that only landlords of rental properties and those living in leasehold flats will be able to apply, so if you own a house or a bungalow, you won't be able to qualify anymore. the idea here is to focus mainly on promoting EV purchases in densely populated urban areas.


If you're a flat leasehold owner, to qualify for the grant, you will need to own an electric vehicle with CO2 emissions below 50g/km and have an OLEV-approved charger fitted. As with the PCG, the paperwork for the EVHS grant can be done by the charge point supplier.

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Silvia Iacovcich 02/11/22