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Grants for Eco-friendly Cars

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 17 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
Car Eco-friendly Low Emission Electric

The 2010 change in the UK government has led to concerns about eco-friendly grants and subsidies.

When it comes to cars, Chris Huhne, the coalition’s minister for energy and climate change, has clarified matters. He has stated the government’s commitment to low emission and electric vehicles. Furthermore, he has said that for the sake of the environment, the UK must see a huge rise in such cars on the roads.

The government has therefore agreed to protect the eco-friendly car grant scheme from spending cuts. This is a scheme proposed by the former labour administration.

The Fund

The total amount for the grant scheme is £43 million. The scheme starts in January 2011 and runs to March 2012.

In January 2012, the government will review the way the scheme has run. Ministers will then decide how much money to make available for grants in future years.

Philip Hammond, the Minister for Transport, has said the grants will ensure the UK’s place as a world leader in promoting low emission vehicles.

Electric and Hybrid Vehicles

The aim of the grant is to encourage motorists to buy electric and plug-in hybrid cars. Broadly speaking, such cars may be at least £10,000 more than a petrol or diesel equivalent when bought new.

The grant helps motorists pay for this difference in cost. From January 2011, a motorist who buys an eligible electric or plug-in hybrid car can claim a grant that meets a quarter of the vehicle’s value. The maximum claim for any one car is £5,000.

Plug-In Points

The success of electric and plug-in hybrid car sales also depends on available charging points. The government has yet to decide whether to fund such points.

Eligible Cars

So far, there are two eligible cars for the grant scheme. But the government expects other car makers to launch electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles during the period of the scheme.

The two eligible cars are the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the Nissan Leaf.

The all-electric Nissan Leaf has an on the road price of £28,990. With the grant, this becomes £23,990. This price includes VAT at the 2011 rate of 20%.

The Leaf is a five-seat car with a top speed of 90 mph. The battery is laminated lithium-ion with a power of 90kW. The maximum journey for the fully charged battery without using the air conditioning or heater is 100 miles.

Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV is also an all-electric vehicle. It has four seats and a top speed of 81 mph.

Like the Leaf, the i-MiEV uses a lithium-ion battery. Charging time from empty to full is six hours using a domestic 240V socket. This costs around 96 pence in electricity. Battery chargers currently under development will give an 80% charge in half an hour.

According to Mitsubishi, the car will cost £38,699. This falls by £5,000 thanks to the grant.


Motorists keen to know more about electric or plug-in hybrids may wish to register their interest with retailers. Sales staff in the car showrooms should deal with the paperwork for claiming the grant.

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