Opinion: cutting UK plug-in grants could kill the EV revolution

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Compare the UK’s situation with Norway – an exception but one that proves the success of incentives. Over half of all new cars registered there last year were plug-in hybrids or BEVs, and two of the bestselling cars are fully electric.

That’s unsurprising, because EVs are exempt from VAT, import and purchase taxes, can use many bus lanes, and even pay half-price fares for ferries. Granted, Norway has a massive sovereign wealth fund to make that sustainable – and generates most of its own electricity from hydroelectric plants – but it seems counterproductive for the UK to scrap its relatively modest grant so early on in the electric revolution. 

The other side of the argument is that, regardless of incentives, car makers will be forced to sell electrified models in greater numbers in order to meet their fleet average CO2 targets. And it’s likely that more advanced PHEVs in future will be eligible for the updated grant, with cars with more than 70 miles of zero-emission range eligible for the discount. But in the short term, the UK’s EV revolution is in real danger of being stifled.

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