Plug-in Car Grant abolition still hitting PHEV take-up
October’s removal of the Plug-in-Car Grant for PHEVs is still having a staggering impact on take-up, entirely showing that it was a “backwards move”.
So says the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders as latest new car registration figures show once-strong demand for PHEVs has withered since last autumn.
The February figures from the SMMT reveal that the overall new car market rose 1.4% while demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles continue to surge last month, up 34.0% and marking the 22nd consecutive month of growth for the segment. Demand was particularly high for fully electric cars, which more than doubled to 731 units, although they still accounted for less than 1% of the market (0.9%).
However, the SMMT noted that in the four months since the October 2018 reform to the Plug-in Car Grant, the market for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) has only grown by 1.7%, compared with 29.5% over the first 10 months of 2018. This continues to suggest that removing the incentive for PHEVs is impacting take-up.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “It’s encouraging to see market growth in February, albeit marginal, especially for electrified models. Car makers have made huge commitments to bring to market an ever-increasing range of exciting zero and ultra-low emission vehicles and give buyers greater choice. These cars still only account for a fraction of the overall market, however, so if the UK is to achieve its electrification ambitions, a world-class package of incentives and infrastructure is needed. The recent removal of the Plug-in Car Grant from plug-in hybrids was a backward step and sends entirely the wrong message. Supportive, not punitive measures are needed, else ambitions will never be realised.”