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Goverment agrees to £5,000 grant for electric car buyers

Buyers of new electric and plug-in electric hybrid cars will be given up to £5,000 off the showroom price in a move designed to get as many ultra-low emissions cars on the road as quickly as possible.

From January 2011, private and corporate buyers will be entitled to a grant of up to 25% off the list price of the eligible car, up to a maximum of £5,000.

Qualifying cars are electric, plug-in hybrid or hydrogen fuel cell cars that meet safety, reliability, performance and warranty standards (see end of article for exact requirements).

The Government has committed £230 million to the new ‘ultra-low carbon car incentive programme’.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) welcomed the announcement.

“This incentive scheme signals a significant commitment by Government and industry to promote ultra-low carbon vehicles and is great news for motorists.

"The UK is determined to be a world-leader in developing the field of ultra-low carbon vehicles, sustaining and creating high-skill jobs, attracting inward investment and producing cutting-edge products,” said SMMT chief executive, Paul Everitt.

However, the BVRLA, which represents the rental and vehicle lease sector, welcomed the news but with caveats.


“A discount of up to £5,000 is very attractive incentive, but buyers are not stupid. Fleets will need some assurance that the electric vehicle they are buying will have a second-hand value in three, six or even ten years’ time," said its chief executive, John Lewis.

“The three-year battery warranty outlined in the DfT’s qualification criteria is a bare minimum requirement so we are pleased that buyers will have to be given the option of paying for an extended 5-year warranty.”

The BVRLA raised some concerns about the safety standards being applied for the new ultra-clean car grant.

“Most car manufacturers have used the EuroNCAP safety standard as a marketing tool,” said Lewis.

“Fleet buyers take their duty of care responsibilities very seriously and will expect the same levels of safety from any electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles.”

Also announced were the winners - London, Milton Keynes, North East England - of the Plugged-In Places bid which saw UK cities and regions bid for investment to support the development of infrastructure required to support ultra-low carbon vehicles.

The Plugged-In Places investment will see the installation of over 11,000 charging posts in London, Milton Keynes and North East England.

There will be another opportunity, in June 2010, for additional cities and regions to bid for Plugged-In Places funding.

Already confirmed as intending to bid are the West Midlands, Cornwall, Sheffield, the Lake District, Greater Manchester, and Northern Ireland.


  • Vehicle Type M1 categorisation (i.e. cars only)
  • Must be battery electric, plug-in hybrid or a hydrogen fuel cell car
  • Emissions 0g/km for EV Max 75g/km for PHEV
  • Min range 70 miles (113 km) EV
  • Min range 10 miles (16 km) PHEV
  • Max speed of at least 60mph (96kph)
  • Warranty, vehicle: 3 years or 75,000 miles (120,000 km)
  • Warranty, battery: 3 years for the battery with a requirement to offer 5 if requested by consumer
  • Battery degradation: a rate of degradation such that it retains a reasonable degree of performance after a three year period of normal use.
  • Crash safety: EC whole vehicle type approval; OR crash tested to acceptable international standards (namely, i)A tailored protocol based on EuroNCAP ii) Compliance with crash testing regimes in other developed international markets of similar stringency to Europe; for example USA, Japan, Korea etc)
  • Manufacturers to confirm they have assessed the risks associated with the use of the vehicles, have developed appropriate mitigating actions and will inform the consumer of these.
  • Compliance with UN-ECE Reg 100


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