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Plug-in grant scheme changes: what it means for you

From 1 March 2016, the UK’s plug-in grant has a new structure that will affect everyone buying a new hybrid or electric car

Words ByDoug Revolta

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The government has pledged to continue its plug-in grant scheme until at least March 2018, but it has been restructured as of today. Here’s everything you need to know.

What’s different?

Until now, anyone buying a new zero-emissions car was eligible for a government grant of Β£5000 off its list price. From today, plug-in cars have been split into two categories, each getting a different level of discount.

Category 1 cars emit less than 50g/km of CO2 and have a zero emission (pure electric) range of more than 70 miles. These cars qualify for a Β£4500 grant.

Category 2 cars emit less than 50g/km of CO2 and have an electric-only range of 10 to 69 miles. Buyers of Category 2 cars, which are mostly plug-in hybrids, will get Β£2500 off the list price.

Do the grants apply to all electric and hybrid cars?

No, Category 2 cars with a new list price of Β£60,000 or more are not eligible for any grant.

The government has also added a third category – Category 3 – to the revised plug-in scheme. It is for all cars that emit between 50g/km and 70g/km of CO2 and have a zero emission range of at least 20 miles. However, only the Mercedes-Benz S500 Hybrid and Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid fall into this category, and neither is eligible for the grant because their list price is more than Β£60,000.

Which cars fall into Category 1 and 2?

Category 1 cars are fully electric, so cars like the BMW i3, Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S. They qualify for a Β£4500 discount.

Category 2 cars are typically hybrids, like the Toyota Prius and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, both of which get a Β£2500 discount.

What about the home charging point grant?

The government has continued its pledge to support these by offering Β£500 to help with the cost of installing a charging socket at home, which equates to around half the usual bill.