A long-term extension to the UK Government’s Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) has been announced today, guaranteeing it until the end of March 2018. More than 100,000 motorists over the course of the next couple of years are expected to benefit from the £400 million fund.

To reflect the changes in the market, the Department for Transport has made some changes to the PiCG. The maximum available discount on the overall purchase price drops from £5,000 to £4,500, with a weighting towards pure electric cars.

The PiGC is now linked in directly with the Office for Low Emission Vehicles’ vehicle categories released earlier this year. These split the cars into three categories depending on emissions and range.

Category 1: CO2 <50g/km and a zero emission range of at least 70 miles Category 2: CO2 <50g/km and a zero emission range between 10 and 69 miles Category 3: CO2 50-75g/km and a zero emission range of at least 20 miles

From 1st March 2016, two different grant rates will kick in, focusing on supporting those buying the greenest vehicles. Category 1 vehicles will benefit from the full £4,500 grant while Category 2 and 3 vehicles will receive £2,500. The current grant scheme will run until March 2017 or until a certain number of each grant has been awarded.

The PiCG will come under review when a cumulative total of 40,000 Category 1 claims have been made, and 45,000 Category 2 and 3 combined sales have gone through. Both these totals will include cars sold before March 2016.

A price cap will also be put in place to encourage everyday motorist’s uptake of plug-in cars. Category 2 and 3 models with a list price of more than £60,000 will not be eligible for the PiCG, though all Category 1 vehicles will be able to have the full PiCG no matter what their cost.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “The UK is a world leader in the uptake of low emission vehicles and the Plug-in Car Grant has been key to that success. Extending the grant in a sustainable way ensures more than 100,000 people will benefit from financial support when purchasing these cheap-to-run and green cars. We are determined to keep Britain at the forefront of the technology, increasing our support for plug-in vehicles to £600 million over the next five years to cut emissions, create jobs and support our cutting-edge industries.”

Alongside the PiGC, the government has announced it will continue the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme – though at a reduced cost. Plug-in car buyers will now get £500 towards the cost of installing a charging point at their home, rather than the £700 maximum.

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