The Government-funded scheme provides grants towards the cost of converting vehicles to run on alternative fuels and from April 1 originally proposed to reduce the maximum grant available from 75% to 60% of the additional cost of buying a converted vehicle.
But under a new plan, a maximum grant of 70% will be offered to buyers of gas-powered cars. To calculate the exact level of grant available, PowerShift recommends the use of its internet grant calculator, and the calculations are certainly complicated.
In broadbrush terms, the greater the improvement in vehicle emissions by switching to gas, the greater the grant available.
Therefore, cars with Euro II standard engines that improve to Euro III on conversion receive grants worth 30% of the cost of conversion; improving to Euro IV levels increases the grant to 40%; while a maximum 50% grant is available for cutting emissions to 40% below Euro IV.
Newer engines receive smaller grants because they are already cleaner, so a Euro III engine qualifies for a grant of 30% of the cost of conversion for meeting Euro IV standards, and 40% for exceeding Euro IV by 40%. Euro IV engines receive grants worth only 30% of the cost of conversion for beating Euro IV emission standards by 40%.
Additionally, buying a converted car directly from a manufacturer or converting new cars and vans using a manufacturer approved converter gains an extra 20% grant, and there is a further 10% grant if the conversion is type-approved.
For example, the Volvo S60 bi-fuel meets Euro IV standards when running on petrol and on conversion to gas improves on Euro IV by more than 40% (PowerShift Band 4). It therefore qualifies for a 30% grant, plus the extra 20% as a car supplied directly by a manufacturer, and as the conversion has been type- approved the car qualifies for an extra 10%, giving a total grant of 60%.
The 70% grant level is achievable only for fleets converting vehicles from Euro III standard.