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A guide to government OLEV grants for electric vehicles

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Find out about the different electric car grants offered in the UK and see how going green could also be good for your wallet. 

  • Plug-in car grants can give you up to £2,500 off the cost of buying an electric vehicle
  • Businesses are being incentivised to install charging points
  • The financial support you’re eligible for depends on the type of electric vehicle you drive
 

If you’re planning on buying a brand-new electric vehicle, you can get a discount of up to £2500 off the purchase price.

 Electric cars are sweeping the nation. More people are deciding to go electric with their cars and, as such, the number of charging stations popping up in public car parks and supermarkets is rapidly increasing. There are also a number of financial incentives. 

If you’re planning on buying a brand-new electric vehicle, you can get a discount of up to £2,500 off the purchase price with a grant from The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). The government is also offering a variety of different subsidies, tax incentives and discounts to help drive the population towards zero-emission transport.

The UK has also brought forward its ban on new fossil fuel vehicles to 2030 to help speed up the rollout of electric vehicles. It’s one of a string of new clean energy policies to help trigger a green economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Figures seem to show this drive is working. As of the end of March 2021, there were more than 235,000 pure-electric cars and over 495,000 plug-in models (if including plug-in hybrids) on UK roads.

The government is attributing this to the eligibility of many eco-friendly cars for the Plug-In Car Grant. We’ll cover this and other government subsidies that could be up for grabs if you’re thinking of going electric.

Want to figure out how much you could save? Use Zap-Map's handy car tax calculator below to see the differences between conventional and electric car costs. 

What is the plug-in grant?

If you’re planning on buying a brand-new electric vehicle (EV), you can get a discount of up to £2,500 off the purchase price  – known as the OLEV or Plug-In Car Grant. However, there are different EV grants available, depending on the type of vehicle you’re looking at.

Qualifying vehicles include cars, vans, motorcycles, mopeds and taxis. Here’s a list of some of the most popular models that are currently eligible for the grant: 

Eligible Vehicles

Electric Cars

Electric cars with CO² emission levels of less than 50g/km and the ability to travel at least 112km (70 miles) with zero emissions are eligible for a grant of up to 35% off the purchase price* (maximum of £2,500). To qualify for the grant, cars must cost less than £35,000.

Some of the most popular electric cars that fit the criteria are:

  • Citroen ë-C4
  • DS 3 Crossback E-Tense – Prestige
  • Honda e
  • Hyundai IONIQ Electric – Premium
  • Hyundai KONA Electric (39kWh) – SE Connect
  • Hyundai KONA Electric (39kWh) – Premium
  • Kia e-Niro (39kWh) - 2
  • Mazda MX-30
  • MG MG5 EV
  • MG ZS EV
  • MINI Electric – Level 1,2 & 3
  • Nissan e-NV200 (5 Seater) – Visia
  • Nissan Leaf (40kWh) – Acenta
  • Peugeot e-208
  • Renault ZOE
  • SEAT Mii electric
  • Skoda Citigo-e iV
  • Vauxhall Corsa-e
  • Volkswagen e-Golf
  • Volkswagen e-up!
  • Volkswagen ID.3 Pro (58kWh 145PS) – Life
  • Volkswagen ID.3 Pro Performance (58kWh 204PS) – Life

*All information correct as of March 2021

Electric Motorcycles

Electric motorcycles with zero CO² emission levels and the capability of travelling at least 50km (31 miles) in-between charges, qualify for a grant of up to 20% off the purchase price* (maximum of £1,500). Example models are:

  • Artisan ES1-Pro
  • Artisan EV0 Monster
  • Askoll eS3
  • Askoll eSpro 70
  • BMW C evolution
  • Eccity 125
  • Eccity 125+
  • Eccity Model3
  • EcoNeco Revival
  • Ecooter E1R
  • Ecooter E2
  • Harley-Davidson LiveWire
  • Horwin CR6
  • Horwin EK3
  • NIU NQi GT Pro Cargo
  • NIU NQi GTS Pro
  • NIU NQi GTS Sport
  • Rieju NUUK
  • Scutum Silence S02
  • Sunra Robo-S
  • THELMOCO Ultra
  • Torrot Muvi
  • Vmoto 100
  • Vmoto 120
  • Vmoto Super Soco CPX
  • Vmoto Super Soco TC Max
  • Zero Motorcycles (all models)
  • Zride Tiger X

*All information correct as of March 2021

 

Currently, reduced charges for owners of low-emission vehicles are available under the Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED).

Electric Mopeds

Electric mopeds that release no emissions and can travel at least 30km (19 miles) in-between charges are also eligible for a grant of up to 20% off the purchase price* (up to a maximum of £1,500).

Qualifying models include:

  • Artisan EV2000 
  • Artisan JS2A
  • Artisan P2 Utility
  • Askoll eS1
  • Askoll eS2
  • Askoll eSpro 45
  • Bloova Delivery
  • Bloova Retro
  • Ecooter E1S
  • GOVECS GO! T
  • Kollter ES1
  • Lexmoto Cypher 1500 
  • Lexmoto G5
  • Lexmoto Impulse
  • Lexmoto S-Like
  • NIU M-Series
  • NIU M+
  • NIU N-Cargo
  • NIU N-Series
  • NIU NGT
  • NIU NQi Pro
  • NIU U-Series
  • NIU UQi GT Pro
  • Peugeot e-Ludix
  • Rieju NUUK
  • THELMOCO Senda
  • THELMOCO X-Tra
  • THELMOCO Zen
  • Torrot Muvi City
  • UBCO 2x2 ADV
  • UGBEST e-City
  • Vespa Elettrica
  • Vmoto Super Soco CUX
  • Vmoto Super Soco TC
  • Vmoto Super Soco TS1200R
  • Vmoto Super Soco TSX

*All information correct as of March 2021

Electric Vans

Electric vans with CO² emission levels of fewer than 75g/km and the ability to travel at least 16km (ten miles) with no emissions can qualify for a grant of up to 20% off the purchase price* (maximum of £3,000 for small vans and £6,000 for large vans). 

These include:

  • Maxus eDeliver 3 (short wheel base variants)
  • Nissan e-NV200
  • Renault Kangoo ZE
  • Renault Zoe Van
  • BD Auto eTraffic
  • BD Auto eDucato (3.5 tonnes)
  • Citroen e-Dispatch
  • LEVC VN5
  • MAN eTGE
  • Maxus eDeliver 3 
  • Maxus eDeliver 9
  • Mercedes-Benz eVito
  • Mercedes eSprinter
  • Peugeot e-Expert
  • Renault Master ZE
  • Renault Trucks Master ZE
  • Vauxhall Vivaro-e
  • Volkswagen ABT e-Transporter

*All information correct as of March 2021

Electric Taxis

Electric taxis with CO² emission levels of less than 50g/km and the capability of travelling at least 112km (70 miles) without any emissions are eligible for a grant of up to 20% off the purchase price (maximum of £7,500):

  • Dynamo Taxi
  • LEVC TX

Non-Eligible Vehicles

Unfortunately, some new vehicles don’t qualify for the Plug-In Grant when purchased.

However, they may be eligible for an up-to £350 (inc. VAT) discount off the installation costs of a home electric car charger, thanks to the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme. The following vehicles qualify for this grant:

Electric Cars

Electric cars with CO² emission levels of less than 50g/km* and the ability to travel at least 16km (ten miles) without releasing any emissions are eligible:

  • Audi A3 e-tron
  • Audi Q7
  • BMW 225xe
  • BMW 330e
  • BMW 530e
  • BMW i8
  • Hyundai IONIQ PHEV
  • Kia Niro PHEV
  • Kia Optima PHEV
  • Mercedes-Benz C350 e (with 17“ rear wheels)
  • Mercedes-Benz E350 e SE
  • Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (except commercial)
  • Toyota Prius Plug-in
  • Volkswagen Golf GTE
  • Volkswagen Passat GTE
  • Volvo S90 Twin Engine
  • Volvo V60 D5 Twin Engine
  • Volvo V60 D6 Twin Engine
  • Volvo V90 Twin Engine
  • Volvo XC60 Twin Engine

*All information correct as of March 2021

Electric vehicles with CO² emission levels of between 50 to 75g/km that are able to travel at least 32km (20 miles) with zero emissions* also qualify for the electric home charger discount, such as:

  • Mercedes-Benz E350e AMG Line
  • Mercedes-Benz S500 Hybrid
  • MINI Countryman PHEV
  • Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid
  • Range Rover P400e
  • Range Rover Sport P400e

*All information correct as of March 2021

 

London Congestion Charge

The Congestion Charge is a £15 daily charge if you drive within the Congestion Charge zone 07:00-22:00, every day, except Christmas Day (25 December).

Currently, reduced charges for owners of low-emission vehicles are available under the Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED). However, this is being replaced by the Cleaner Vehicle Discount.

This will introduce new standards that enable zero-emission vehicles to qualify for a full exemption from the Congestion Charge. You can check your eligibility under the CO² emissions category on your V5C registration document.

Here’s the timetable* for the rollout:

8th April 2019 to 24th October 2021

New regulations will be introduced, so vehicles must meet the following criteria for a 100% discount:

  • Euro 6 emission standard
  • Emit less than 75g/km of CO²
  • Able to drive a minimum of 32km (20 miles) with zero emissions

25th October 2021 to 24th December 2025

Only pure electric vehicles will qualify for the Cleaner Vehicle Discount, meaning hybrids and other vehicles have to pay the full Congestion Charge.

24th December 2025 onwards

The Cleaner Vehicle Discount expires from this date, so all drivers have to pay the Congestion Charge, unless they have an exemption or separate discount.

Electric cars for Business Benefits

If your business wants to replace its existing fleet of company cars, government incentives are available that can help cover the costs of switching from petrol to electric vehicles. Here are some of the schemes on offer:

100% First Year Allowance (FYA)

Organisations can claim a 100% first-year allowance to cover the cost of buying a new low CO² emissions vehicle, such as some electric cars. Essentially, this allows companies to put the cost of buying new low-emission vehicles against their taxable profits.

This means businesses can claim back a 100% deduction from the first year of purchase of a brand-new vehicle.

1A National Insurance Contributions

If your business provides company vehicles for employees, you’re required to pay Class 1A National Insurance Contributions (NICs). How much you pay depends on the car’s CO² emission levels and its P11D value.

The P11D value determines how much company car tax has to be paid for that vehicle and is calculated by the basic price plus VAT and delivery fees.

Your company can make significant savings by switching to electric vehicles, as the contributions you need to pay are, on average, over £2,000 less over a four-year period – compared to petrol cars.

Reduced BiK Tax

Electric company car owners benefit from a reduced BiK tax until 2025 but the level of discount depends on when the car was bought and the current tax year.

Workplace Charge Scheme

The government has introduced the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS), which provides financial support to businesses that install electric car charging stations on their premises.

This voucher-based programme helps cover up to 75% of the purchase and installation costs. It extends to a limit of £350 for each charger socket, up to a maximum of 40 charge points per applicant across all their business sites.

If successful, the voucher is valid for 180 days. After the charging stations have been fitted by an authorised WCS installer, companies can then claim reimbursement through the scheme. 

*All information correct as of March 2021

We offer specialist electric car insurance to make sure you’ve got the right cover for your needs.

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