Press release

Plug-in car grant extended to vans

Up to £8000 off for those buying a plug-in van.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Van buyers will be able to receive 20% - up to £8000 - off the cost of a plug-in van, Transport Minister Norman Baker and Business Minister Mark Prisk announced today (17 January 2012).

This is an extension of the Plug-In Car Grant which offers 25% - up to £5000 - to motorists buying a new plug-in car. Ministers have also re-confirmed there is funding secured for this grant until 2015.

The purpose of the consumer grant is to enable the purchase of ultra-low carbon vehicles which could otherwise have been unaffordable. The consumer will also benefit from lower running costs over the lifetime of the vehicle.

Transport Minister Norman Baker said:

Electric vehicles are the arrowhead for a low carbon revolution in motoring and as more models come to market we’ll begin to see sales gather pace.

Car buyers have had a year to take advantage of our grant and now it’s time for van buyers to get their chance to go electric. This is great news for businesses given the lower running costs of these vehicles - fleet buyers tell us that this is one of the most important factor influencing their decision on what to buy.

It is radical initiatives like these which will allow us to create a transport system that both cuts carbon and is an engine for economic growth.

Business Minister Mark Prisk said:

Supporting ultra-low carbon technology in vans makes sense. An upfront purchase grant, when combined with lower running costs and tax benefits, can make switching to an ultra-low carbon van an attractive choice for businesses.

The technology also fits well with a large portion of the van market that rely on short urban trips to and from base.

From today ultra-low carbon van manufacturers will be able to apply to be part of the Plug-In Van Grant - which will help to improve local air quality in cities, reduce carbon emissions and meet Government carbon reduction targets.

To be eligible for the scheme, vans will have to meet performance criteria to ensure safety, range, and ultra-low tailpipe emissions. Consumers, both business and private will receive the discount at the point of purchase.

There are currently 10 cars eligible for the Plug-In Car Grant - 5 of which came onto the market in 2011, with the other half expected to be available to purchase this year. During the first year of the scheme, over 1000 eligible vehicles were registered and, up to 31 December 2011, 892 applications were made for the Plug-In Car Grant.

Notes to Editors

Further details about the Plug-in car and van grants, including the manufacturer application process and the criteria vans must meet to be part of the grant.

Only vans which meet strict performance criteria for range, tail-pipe emissions and safety will be eligible for the Plug-In Van Grant. The application process opens today and van manufacturers are invited to apply for their vehicles to become part of the scheme. Applications can be received at any time. The department expects to confirm shortly the first vans to join the scheme, for which applications will need to be received by 31 January.

As announced at the Spending Review, the government has made provision of over £400 million to promote the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicle technologies. This includes approximately £80 million supporting research and development activities; £30 million for the installation of infrastructure; and, £300 million to support consumer incentives for the life of the Parliament.

The government committed to monitor the scheme to ensure it remains the most effective way of delivering consumer incentives ensuring value for money for the tax payer - the need for and value of the grant, as well as its scope was examined. In reviewing the Plug-In Car Grant the government’s strategy to support the transition from the early ultra-low emission vehicle market to mass market was also revisited.

Fleet running costs were identified as the most important factor influencing fleet management decisions by fleet purchasers by researchers for ‘Industry review - Quarter Four 2010’, Fleeteye/The University of Buckingham.

A National Chargepoint Register is being established to make it easier for drivers to locate recharging points and to track the growth in the national charging network. This will be operational early this year.

The government’s assessment is that the number of installed chargepoints in the UK is more than 2500, of which 765 have been delivered (to 14 October 2011) through the government’s Plugged-In Places trials and the remainder through private sector organisations’ investment. The private sector organisations have commitments to deliver approximately a further 4000 points across the UK by the end of 2012.

During 2011, 1052 vehicles eligible for the Plug-In Car Grant were registered in the UK and 892 applications were made for the Plug-in Car Grant (Quarter 1; 465; Quarter 2 215; Quarter 3 106; Quarter 4 106). Manufacturers apply for the grant following the purchase of the car hence the lag between registrations and grant applications.

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Published 17 January 2012