Government extends electric car grant delivery time so buyers don't miss out

The £1500 discount on the price of many new electric cars was scrapped in 2021, but if you ordered a car before the cut-off date you could still get the saving...

MG 5 charger

Although the government axed the plug-in car grant from 14 June 2021, it has now extended the delivery period for eligible new cars from 12 to 18 months, so that buyers facing lengthy waits for their new cars won’t miss out on the discount.

Anyone who ordered a new electric vehicle (EV) before the cut-off date, and is still waiting to take delivery of it, now has until 31 March 2023 to get the car and the £1500 discount.

The decision, announced by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles, takes into account new car supply difficulties that were causing many buyers’ EV grant applications to lapse before they could receive their new car. Prior to the extension, only cars delivered by June 2022 were eligible for the saving.

The move was welcomed by the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK. Chief executive Sue Robinson said: “Franchised dealers are still battling long lead times for their orders, so the delivery extension is positive, because it provides a safety net for customers to receive their electric vehicle with the grant they’d have got when they placed their order.” 

Best used electric small car 2022 - Renault Zoe front

The grant – designed to encourage buyers to switch to electric cars – was reduced several times over the years, before the Government decided to axe it entirely. For example, in December 2021 it dropped from £2500 to £1500. At the same time, the eligibility criteria for the grant changed. It was previously open to EVs costing up to £35,000, but the limit was reduced to £32,000. 

The Government credited the grant with helping to grow pure electric car sales from less than 1000 in the entirety of 2011 – the first year it was available – to more than 175,000 in the first nine months of 2022. That's 40% up on the same period in 2021, and one in seven of the new cars leaving dealerships.

The Government says it is now aiming to “match that success across other vehicle types” by continuing to offer a grant to buyers of electric motorcycles, taxis, vans and the like.

Some of the money saved by withdrawing the grant for car buyers will be used to expand the UK’s public charging network, with the objective of having 300,000 charge points in operation by 2030. There are currently 57,613 public charging points and 34,860 chargers in the UK, according to charging app Zap-Map.

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