UK ends subsidies for electric cars on surging demand

British MP Greg Clark test driving a Nissan Leaf in Westminster. (Reference image by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Govt., Flickr).

The UK said it would scrap the last remaining subsidies for electric cars, saying the move would free up cash to expand the charging network and encourage sales of other battery-powered vehicles, such as vans, taxis and motorcycles.

The £300 million ($349 million) grant-funding program is closing to new orders on Tuesday, the Department for Transport said in a statement. The scheme “has succeeded in creating a mature market for ultra-low emission vehicles,” the department said.

Previous reductions in the grants haven’t had an impact on the strong demand for EVs, showing that the time was right to shift the resources to charging infrastructure and sales of other types of vehicles, the department said.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders faulted the move, saying it would make the UK the only major European market without any incentives for EVs at a time when new car sales have been plunging.

“With the sector not yet in recovery, and all manufacturers about to be mandated to sell significantly more EVs than current demand indicates, this decision comes at the worst possible time,” said Mike Hawes, the chief executive officer of the SMMT.

(By Siddharth Philip)

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