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Government grants and incentives for electric vehicle drivers

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Monday 20 July 2020

If you’re thinking of buying an electric vehicle, or you’re already a proud owner, we have good news: you could get some help from the government with the costs of the vehicle and charging points. The Office of Low Emission Vehicles, aka OLEV, is supporting EV and plug-in hybrid drivers with schemes and grants – making it cheaper to get on the road with an ultra-low or zero emission car. 


Here, we’ll look at schemes you can apply to, how to claim – and what all those confusing acronyms actually stand for. 

The electric vehicle homecharge scheme

Charging your EV at home is convenient, but the kit sure isn’t cheap! Luckily, the electric vehicle homecharge scheme (EVHS) is a grant helping drivers out with the upfront costs. Some key things to know: 


  • It’s for electric and plug-in hybrid cars – old and new

  • You can claim one charge point per eligible vehicle – for up to two per household

  • It’s also known as the OLEV grant


How to qualify 

You’ll need to have bought your eligible electric or plug-in hybrid car on or after the 1st October 2016, or have leased one for at least six months before applying. Here’s the rest of the key info:


  • You need to have off-street parking

  • The chargepoint and installer must be OLEV-approved

  • The installation date can’t be more than 4 months ahead of the chargepoint delivery, or the date you become the registered driver 

  • You can find loads more info through OLEV


Which cars are eligible

All battery-powered EVs are eligible. But plug-in hybrid vehicles only qualify if CO2 emissions are calculated below 50g/km. 


Check out the up-to-date list of cars that qualify here


How much you can get, and how to claim

You can claim up to £350 off the cost of buying and fitting your new home charging point. And, lucky for you, the chargepoint installer should do the boring bit and make the claim for you. 


The plug-in electric car grant

The initial cost of buying a brand new plug-in EV can be off-putting, but the plug-in electric car grant (PICG) is here to help out. A few things to know:

  • It’s only for the greenest plug-in models 

  • As well as electric cars, the grants are also for other vehicles like vans, taxis and motorcycles

  • EVs over £50,000 aren’t eligible


Who qualifies

The grant was first brought in to support buying ultra-low emission EVs, but it’s now just for zero emission vehicles. They also have to be able to travel a certain distance between charges. For example, motorcycles qualify if they can do at least 50km before needing to be charged.


OLEV keeps a list of EVs that qualify – you can check it out here


How much the grant is worth

What you might get all depends on the type of EV you’re applying for. It can give you: 


  • 35% towards the cost of a car – up to £3,000 

  • 20% towards the cost of a van – up to £8,000

  • 20% towards the cost of mopeds and motorcycles – up to £1,500

  • 20% towards the cost of a taxi – up to £7,500


Not bad! But it’s worth noting that the grant amount has been lowered over the years, as EVs have become more popular. So it could be worth getting in there quick and using the scheme sooner rather than later! Just in case it gets lower still – as EVs continue to become more mainstream.


How to claim

The grant is applied for when you buy your EV. The manufacturer makes the claim and the dealership lowers the price accordingly, so you don’t have to do the application – handy! 

On-street residential charge point scheme

Home charging usually happens, well, at home. It’s more economical than using street charge points, but not always possible (not everyone has a driveway, garage or convenient spot to charge). And this is where the on-street residential charge point scheme (ORCS) comes in! OLEV came up with the scheme to improve local charging infrastructure – making it easier for EV drivers who can’t get a charging point on their property. Here’s the lowdown: 


  • This one is applied for by local authorities, not individual people

  • Funding is first-come, first-served. But areas that haven’t had help from the scheme before are prioritised. 

  • The Energy Saving Trust runs this scheme, supported by OLEV – local authorities can get all the details here


Who qualifies and how

To qualify, local authorities apply for charge points in residential areas without much off-street parking. They also have to get the support of their Highways Authority. 


How much the grant is worth

Grants are awarded to fund 75% of the costs of getting and installing the on-street chargepoint – and any infrastructure that goes along with it.


OLEV can provide up to £6,500 for each charge point installation. You can apply for funding for multiple charge points in one application, but this shouldn’t be more than £100k – they’re reviewed case-by-case.


How it’s claimed 

Local authorities can get the lowdown on how to apply here, and find application forms through the Energy Saving Trust.  


The workplace charging scheme grant 

More people are commuting the low-carbon way, by using EVs. And the workplace charging scheme (WCS) makes it easier for businesses to support staff and visitors who do. Here’s what you need to know:


  • It’s a voucher-based grant to help with the up-front costs of buying and fitting charge points

  • Workplaces make the application, rather than the employees (but you can suggest it!)

  • They can apply for grants for up to 40 charge-point sockets 


Who qualifies for the grant

Any business, charity, or public authority with off-street parking for employees can apply. Companies have to use an OLEV-approved installer to fit the charge points – you can find one here


How much the grant is worth

The scheme covers up to 75% of the cost of buying and fitting the charging points. It’s capped at £350 for each socket. 


Claiming a grant 

Companies can check if they can apply here, then fill out an application form


If you’re thinking of buying an EV

Want to crunch some numbers? Find out even more about prices and potential savings when buying and running an EV, in our handy rundown of electric car costs


Ready to make the move? Check out our EV Everywhere plan. It’s made for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle owners – we’ll help you charge your electric car everywhere, for less. You’ll get: 


  • Free Polar Plus membership1

  • £100 off your energy2

  • 2-Year Fixed Energy plan

  • 100% Green Energy

  • Works with Economy 7

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