Government slashes electric car grants

The government has agreed to honour the previous administration's £5,000 electric car subsidy, but it'll dramatically slash the number of these grants

Rory Reid

Bad news for electric car shoppers: the coalition government has agreed to honour the £5,000 electric car subsidy earmarked by the previous administration, but it'll dramatically slash the number of these grants until a review in January 2012.

The new government will commit just £43m of the original £230m promised, meaning tens of thousands of motorists could miss out. The number of grants honoured will fall to 8,600 -- well shy of the "minimum of 46,000" promised by the previous government.

Grants will be available from January 2011 -- just time for the launch of the Nissan Leaf. A full grant would cut the price of that car from £28,350 to £23,580. Only new-generation electric cars including the Leaf, Tesla Roadster and Mitsubishi i-MiEV will be eligible.

There's also uncertainty surrounding the previous government's 'plugged-in places' project, which promised thousands of new charging points to keep electric vehicles on the move. The government refused to be drawn on this, but said a decision on the financing and number of new charging points would be delayed until a full spending review in the autumn.

What do you think? Is £5,000 enough to persuade you to go electric? Is the £43m government pot too insignificant to persuade the masses to go green? Are electric cars even a viable method of mass transport?

Vent your spleen in the comments below, then go check out our list of the top 10 electric cars in the UK.