UK ‘scrap and replace’ scheme ‘could be an option’ to ditch petrol and diesel cars for EVs

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The New Zealand Government announced plans to cut greenhouse gases including a “scrap and replace” scheme for drivers. Drivers of polluting petrol and diesel vehicles will be able to replace them with cleaner hybrid or electric cars.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern heralded the work her Government was doing in the move to net zero, calling it a “landmark day”. 

The Government said it plans to spend NZ$569million (New Zealand dollars) (£294million) on the electric car trial program as part of a larger plan that includes subsidies for businesses to reduce emissions.

It will also include a switch to an entirely green bus fleet by 2035 and curbside food-waste collection for most homes by the end of the decade.

Matthew Walters, Head of Consultancy Services LeasePlan UK, spoke to about how the scheme could be adapted for the UK.

He said: “The main advantage that a scrappage scheme has over some of the UK’s existing EV policies is that it provides a financial incentive for people to make the switch.  

“This offers up a huge carrot to drivers who want to cut their costs and carbon emissions, rather than trying to make them go EV through governmental ‘sticks’ like Clean Air Zones (although these are also very important).

“It will also help a greater number of low- and medium-earning drivers to go electric, by bringing down the upfront costs.  

“These are the drivers who are more likely to opt for a slightly cheaper used diesel or petrol model when they come to replace their vehicle. 

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“We need to remember that even after the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars it’s crucial that the second market gets the same focus.  

“By making EVs more affordable for everyone, the Government can keep EVs cost-competitive with the used-car market in the lead up to 2030 and subsequently make early progress with its net-zero targets.”

The New Zealand plan is targeted towards lower-income families to replace older, more polluting petrol and diesel cars with hybrid or electric cars. 

It also represents a step toward the pledges the nation made under the 2016 Paris Agreement on climate change and New Zealand’s stated goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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Mike Coulton, EV Consultant at Volkswagen Financial Services UK, analysed whether a scrappage scheme in the UK would be effective.  

Speaking to, he said: “UK scrappage schemes have been very successful in the past, and could be an option for the UK Government too. 

“What I like about the New Zealand scheme is its focus on low-income families, who will find the outlay for a new EV hardest to make a reality, but who would arguably benefit most from the cost savings of running an EV.

“Not to mention the obvious environmental benefits of zero tailpipe emissions. 

“For the UK, it may be a case of tracking adoption rates versus expectations, and if more needs to be done then this could be an option.” 

The plan for New Zealand also sets a target of reducing total car travel by 20 percent over the next 13 years by offering better transportation options in cities as well as improved options for cyclists and walkers.

The announcement from the New Zealand Government has caused some to call them the “Norway of the Pacific”. 

New Zealand has a scheme in place, similar to the UK Government’s plug-in grant scheme, which gives drivers money off an electric car.

The car must cost less than NZ$80,000 (£41,355), with drivers receiving a NZ$7,500 (£3,877) grant to go towards the cost of the car.

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