The Government has renewed its commitment to ultra-low carbon vehicles by announcing that the Plug-In Car Grant will be retained, with a new Plug-In Van Grant created – reducing the cost of eligible vans by 20% up to the value of £8,000.
Extending funding to the commercial vehicle world is a significant step and will be welcome news to the manufacturers of low carbon vans and those businesses looking to cut operating costs.
Each van qualifying for the grant must emit less than 75g/km CO2, be capable of at least 60 miles between charges (10 miles in electric mode for hybrid vans), more than 50mph and to ensure safety, be approved by ‘European Vehicle Type Approval’.
Transport minister Norman Baker said: “Minister of State for Business and Innovation Mark Prisk and I have reviewed the existing Plug-In Car Grant, which provides a discount of 25%, up to £5,000 off the price of eligible ultra-low emission cars.
“We examined the need for and value of the grant, as well as its scope. We have concluded that there remains a strong case for the grant. We have therefore decided to continue with the Plug-In Car Grant at the current level, with provision out to 2015.
“In addition, we are persuaded that there is a strong case for supporting ultra-low emission technology in vans – which often have fixed duty cycles and return to base regularly where they can easily recharge. An upfront purchase grant, when combined with the lower running costs and tax benefits, can make switching to an ultra-low emission van an attractive choice for businesses.
“The Plug-In Van Grant, alongside the existing Plug-In Car Grant, is designed to help private individuals and businesses adopt new, cleaner technology. Businesses, especially those with fleets, will be a key driver in increasing the market share of ultra-low emission vehicles.
“The shift towards clean technology is an opportunity to further reinvigorate the UK automotive industry, where many van manufacturers are based, alongside helping to increase our energy security.
“The Plug-In Van Grant will help to improve local air quality in our cities, reduce carbon emissions and meet Government targets. The technology fits well with a large portion of the van market that relies on short urban trips to and from base.”
The SMMT has been lobbying for the new Plug-In Van Grant, highlighting the value of low carbon R&D and testing in the UK and the significance of the ultra-low carbon vehicle market for the country’s economy.
The early development of a low carbon market in the UK brings with it vehicle trials, engineering and development functions – crucial elements that will help the UK to remain at the forefront of this emerging market.
“The Plug-In Car Grant and the new Plug-In Van Grant send a strong signal to the global automotive industry about the UK's determination to be a leading market for ultra-low carbon vehicles,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive.
“We will reap significant industrial and environmental benefits from establishing an early and flourishing ultra-low carbon vehicle market, attracting high value investment in R&D, innovation and automotive manufacturing.”