The Government is changing the qualifying criteria for cars to be eligible for purchasing support under its ultra low emission vehicle plug-in grant scheme.

The Department says the criteria is changing to take account of rapidly developing technology, and the growing range of ultra low emission vehicles on the market – 25 cars with a further 40 models expected in the next three years.

From April 1, eligible car models must meet criteria in one of the following categories depending on emission levels and zero-emission-capable mileage:

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

However, from when the new criteria applies, cars will qualify for a 35% grant off the basic price of the car – up from the current 25%, capped at £5,000. The cap will remain at £5,000 for all cars, regardless of which category they are in, until 50,000 grants are issued or 2017, whichever is first.

In May, the Office for Low Emission Vehicles will commence a review of plug-in car grant levels. Following the review, new levels of grant will be available per category. Separately an announcement will be made about the future of the plug-in van grant scheme, but it is not anticipated that the current maximum grant of £8,000 will deteriorate in the foreseeable future.