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Electric or plug-in vehicles come in all shapes and sizes with a wide array of technologies making up this sector. To find out more about plug-in vehicles read our best practice guide on plug-in vehicles or watch our electric car guide video that explains the different types of electric vehicles and helps you understand how the different fuel technologies can work for you.
Government support in the form of the Plug-in Vehicle Grant is available to reduce the higher initial cost. This provides a subsidy of:
The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has a list of eligible cars and vans. The grant is automatically deducted from the retail price when an eligible vehicle is purchased, so there is no additional paperwork to complete, and there's no need to pay the full retail price and then reclaim the benefit. For both the car and van grant, minimum warranty terms apply and pre-registration conversions are eligible.
There are three grant categories for cars, differentiating between Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) on the basis of their carbon dioxide emissions and their zero emission range, whilst retaining a technology neutral approach:
Category 1: carbon dioxide emissions of less than 50g/km and a zero emission range of at least 70 miles.
Category 2: carbon dioxide emissions of less than 50g/km and a zero emission range between 10 and 69 miles.
Category 3: carbon dioxide emissions of 50-75g/km and a zero emission range of at least 20 miles.
Vans: carbon dioxide emissions of less than 75g/km and a zero emission range of at least 10 miles.
As of 1 March 2016, 2 grant rates are available: Category 1 vehicles benefit from a grant of £4,500. Category 2 and Category 3 vehicles with a shorter zero emission range — such as plug-in hybrid vehicles with a petrol or diesel engine — receive £2,500.
Please note, criteria for grants are subject to change. Please refer to the OLEV Guidance for more details
The lifetime running costs of an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle will be of great interest to potential purchasers hoping to offset the higher initial purchase price against lower running costs. Plug-in cars offer a number of potential savings compared to conventional vehicles:
Most electric vehicles available on the market today have a typical range of around 100 miles. However, how far you can go on one charge largely depends on how you drive the car. Driving the car in the most efficient way maximises the car's range and ensures driver satisfaction.
Charging infrastructure is growing across the UK. There are several chargepoint maps available that detail chargepoint locations:
Electric vehicle users can receive funding from OLEV to install a homecharger for their plug-in vehicle. The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme provides a grant of up to 75 per cent of the eligible costs of chargepoint installation (capped at £500, inc VAT) for the registered keeper, lessee or nominated primary user of a new or second-hand eligible electric vehicle on or after 1 April 2015 onwards. Find out more about eligibility criteria and a list of approved installers.
In Scotland, a 'Charge Your Car' access card or smart phone app is required to access public charge points.
The Living with an Electric Car series of three short clips is presented by Robert Llewellyn of Red Dwarf and Scrapheap Challenge fame. They cover most of the questions potential buyers may have including charging, range and the cost of fuel (electricity) for the vehicles. They offer a realistic and in-depth review of the viability of electric cars and vans.
Learn more about domestic chargepoint grants, accredited installers and schemes available from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV)Read publications
Read about support and funding available for electric vehicles in Scotland. Get in touch for advice by calling our advice line on 0808 808 2282 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.Scottish EV Loan