Government repeats confidence own goal with surprise EV subsidy change

The surprise announcement today by the government to reduce the EV grant to £2,500 and restrict it to cars under £35,000 is surely an own goal and one which sends out the wrong messages to the public and industry.

We all understand that the UK’s finances are in a dire position after the global pandemic and savings need to be made, but is this cut a knee-jerk reaction that could have profound consequences on car buyers and fleets alike?

It’s no secret that car buyers are confused by the myriad of possibilities regarding the switch to electric. Range anxiety, charging infrastructure and a whole host of other worries and concerns are just some of the obstacles preventing a faster adoption of EVs in the mainstream.

Clearly, subsidies can’t be in place forever, but the sudden reduction does have a certain degree of familiarity to it. Who remembers the sudden withdrawal of the LPG PowerShift grant back in 2005? A cleaner technology was practically killed overnight as consumers lost confidence in the fuel. And what about all of the drivers who were encouraged into diesels via taxation incentives only to encounter a full government U-turn which then saw them penalised after following their advice.

Encouraging consumers to switch across to an EV is not a simple task. It’s one that is taking the industry a considerable amount of time and effort. While great strides have been made, particularly in the last 12 months, surely a better option would have been for the government to announce the phased reduction in the grants well in advance of any cuts?

Electric is here to stay so let’s get behind it and give buyers the confidence they need rather than pull the rug from under their feet at such a precarious time.

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