In the budget last year (April 2009) the government announced a series of intended green measures. In line with this the UK Department for Transport (DfT) have just confirmed their investment of £230 million into supporting the electric vehicle market. This funding will be distributed via a number of schemes across the country.

One such scheme will entitle buyers of new electric cars a grant of 25% off the car's initial price tag, capped at £5,000. The grant will be available to individuals and businesses alike from January 2011 until 2014, although this latter date is still subject to approval.

The electric vehicles we are used to seeing around the capital, such as the G-Wiz and Mega City Nice won't be eligible. The government wants to provide an incentive for the development of safe, usable, full sized cars with zero tailpipe emissions. Below is a list of qualifying requirements that a vehicle must achieve to be eligible for the Plug-In Car Grant.

Vehicle type M1 (i.e., cars only)
Must be Battery electric, plug-in hybrid or a hydrogen fuel cell car
CO2 Emissions 0 g/km for EV
Max 75 g/km for PHEV
Vehicle performance Min range 70 miles (113 km) EV
Min electric range 10 miles (16 km) PHEV
Max speed of at least 60mph (96km/h)
Warranty, vehicle: 3 years or 75,000 miles (120,000 km)
Warranty, battery: 3 years for the battery with a requirement to offer 5 if requested by consumer
Battery degradation: a rate of degradation such that it retains a reasonable degree of performance after a three year period of normal use.
Safety Crash safety:
  • EC whole vehicle type approval; OR
  • crash tested to acceptable international standards (namely, i) A tailored protocol based on EuroNCAP ii) Compliance with crash testing regimes in other developed international markets of similar stringency to Europe; for example USA, Japan, Korea etc)
Consumer electrical safety:
  • Manufacturers to confirm they have assessed the risks associated with the use of the vehicles, have developed appropriate mitigating actions and will inform the consumer of these.
  • Compliance with UN-ECE Reg 100

Very few cars meet these requirements today but there are models nearing the end of development which should be ready for production within the first year of the grant scheme.

Comcar are putting together a comprehensive list of upcoming electric vehicles (EV), petrol hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and will provide in-depth information on what you should be considering before you go electric.