Furious drivers appalled by Government scrapping of EV grant ‘Sends wrong message’

Electric cars: Man reveals how he was fined after charging car

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Motoring groups and drivers have criticised the Government’s decision to end grants given to the public for buying electric cars. Originally a £5,000 contribution, it had been cut each year and finally stood at £1,500 before it was suddenly axed yesterday.

Only last month the grant to help people with the cost of installing home chargers was also axed.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said the funding would now be “refocussed” towards improving electric vehicle charging.

But many industry groups, drivers, environmentalists and businesses were appalled by the move.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) for example said the move “sends the wrong message”.

The Government said that it had always been clear that the grant was only temporary.

It added that successive reductions in the size of the grant, and the number of models it covers, have had little effect on rapidly accelerating sales, or the continuously growing range of models being manufactured.

Because of that, ministers have decided to focus on funding the public charging network across the UK, which seems to be the biggest EV barrier as of now.

The DfT said that Grant Shapps will also be supporting the purchase of other road vehicles, where the switch to electric requires further development.

But the RAC motoring group warned the decision could “stifle” the ambition to shift most people into electric cars.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, which represents carmakers, said the decision to scrap the grant “sends the wrong message to motorists and to an industry which remains committed to Government’s net zero ambition”.

Twitter users were scathing of the decision, with Phil Dart writing: “Short-sighted and the timing is dreadful.

“Where’s the integrated plan that would help incentivise lower income households invest in other lower cost / sustainable / active travel transport options such as e-bikes + e-cargo bikes for shorter journeys like shopping + school run?”

The founder and EV site Electrifying.com Ginny Buckley said: “Electric cars are already out of reach for many hard-working families and I fear scrapping the grant entirely pushes us further down the road of becoming a two-tier nation when it comes to ownership.

“As the government points out, sales of electric cars have risen by 70 percent in the last year, and now represent 1 in 6 new cars on UK roads.

“But dig a little deeper and those figures reveal that a large proportion are registered to business users benefiting from financial incentives including salary sacrifice schemes and low benefit-in-kind.

“This grant made a big difference to many hard-working families and removing it seems short sighted, particularly as the Scottish Government announced last week that £28 million will be made available as part of the Low Carbon Transport Loan scheme, giving drivers up to £28,000 in interest-free loans for a new electric car and up to £20,000 for a second hand one.”

She concluded: “It’s now up to car makers to bring out the smaller less expensive models we desperately need to help drive uptake.”

AA president Edmund King said: “The plug has been pulled at the wrong time on this important grant before many users, still waiting for delayed EVs due to global shortages, have made the change.”

Other drivers concurred, tweeting: “And it won’t be the last thing. The government will be coming after EV owners big time for tax sooner rather than later.”

Another wrote: “What a backwards step. World beating or some other hot air green-washing due from the government shortly then.”

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