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If you’re thinking of getting an electric vehicle, switching now could save some money thanks to a series of Government grants and financial schemes. From money off the car itself to savings on charging point installation, there’s a number of ways you could make electric ownership an affordable opportunity.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at the electric car grants and schemes currently in place to help make buying and running an electric car more affordable.

Quick note: many of these grants are issued by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV). This is a government body that used to be called the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). So, if you see both names online and wonder what the difference is – there isn’t one. Same body, just a new name.

Now, let's look at saving some money.

Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG)

The Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) is a government grant designed to make low-emission vehicles and electric cars more affordable.

This grant deducts 35%, or £2,500 – whichever is lowest, off the price of an electric car that’s worth up to £35,000.
The hope is that affordability will make plug-in vehicles more appealing, and more people adopting low-emissions vehicles means we’ll cut local pollution levels and CO2 emissions.

Am I eligible for the Plug-in Car Grant?

The Government has revised eligibility terms a few times so, as of March 2021, the Plug-in Car Grant is now only available for fully electric cars with a purchase price of up to £35,000. The grant will contribute 35% of the car’s purchase price, up to a maximum of £2,500.

The grant is currently available across a range of other electric vehicles:

• Motorbikes with no CO2 emissions that can travel at least 50 km between charges. The grant will pay for 20% of the purchase price, capped at £1,500.
• Mopeds with no CO2 emissions that can travel at least 30 km between charges. The grant will pay for 20% of the purchase price, capped at £1,500.
• Small vans (less than 2,500 kg) with CO2 emissions of less than 50 g/km, which can travel at least 96 km with zero emissions. The grant will pay for 35% of the purchase price, capped at £3,000.
• Large vans (between 2,500 kg and 3,500 kg) with CO2 emissions of less than 50 g/km, which can travel at least 96 km with zero emissions. The grant will pay for 35% of the purchase price, capped at £6,000.
• Trucks (between 3,500 kg and 12,000 kg) with CO2 emissions that are at least half those of an equivalent Euro 6 vehicle of the same capacity. The truck should travel at least 96 km with zero emissions. The grant covers 20% of the purchase price, capped at £16,000.
• Purpose-built taxis with CO2 emissions of less than 50 g/km, which can travel at least 112 km with zero emissions. The grant will pay for 20% of the purchase price, capped at £7,500.

Learn more about the plug-in car grant limit.

Can I buy a hybrid using the plug-in car grant?

To qualify for the plug-in car grant, a car must produce less than 50g/km in emissions and have a zero-emissions range of at least 112 km (70 miles).

Even the best plug-in hybrids on today’s market can only travel around 40 miles with zero emissions, so they don’t qualify for the grant. As and when the technology improves, they should be eligible for the grant if it’s still around.

How do I claim the Plug-in Car Grant?

The grant is issued by the Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles (OZEV). They factor in the car’s emissions alongside safety features, top speed and warranty before deciding whether a car is eligible.

You don’t have to do anything to claim this grant – it’s given to vehicle dealerships and manufacturers who will include the value of the grant in the vehicle’s price (they’ll knock the amount off the price).

Learn more about plug-in car grants on the Gov.uk website (external link).
Charging Honda electric car

Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS)

The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) is a Government grant issued by the Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles (OZEV).

Back when the OZEV was called OLEV, this was commonly called the OLEV grant.

The EVHS contributes 75% towards the purchase and installation of a home charging unit for your electric car or plug-in vehicle, up to a maximum of £350 (including VAT). Home charging points are one of the fastest and cheapest ways to charge your electric vehicle. They’re easy to use, simple to run and safe.

You can apply for two charge points at the same property if you have two qualifying vehicles. The £350 cap will apply to each individual installation.
Am I eligible for the EHVS?
The EHVS comes with a few criteria. To be eligible for the grant, you’ll need to:

• Purchase an OZEV-eligible electric car or plug-in hybrid.
• Have private, off-street parking – a charging cable cannot cross a pedestrian pavement
• Get an OZEV-approved charger (there’s a list on the Gov.uk website)
• Use an OZEV-approved installer (there’s a list of installers too)

As a driver, you should be eligible if:

• You’re the registered keeper and are responsible for registering or paying road tax and MOT – you can’t claim if you’re only borrowing the car
• You purchased your eligible vehicle since 1 October 2016 – anything bought before this date won’t count
• You haven’t already claimed against a Government charge point scheme – this includes when moving to a new house, unfortunately

You don’t need to buy the car, you can still apply if:

• You have been assigned an eligible company vehicle for at least six months
• You’re leasing an eligible vehicle (including through a salary sacrifice scheme) for at least six months

If you’ve ordered an eligible vehicle, it will be delivered in less than four months. You can’t get your OZEV-approved charger installed more than four months ahead of the date you’ll start using your car (i.e. you get your car delivered or your contract starts).

Your application will need to be filled in six weeks prior to the charger unit’s installation date, so work out when you’ll actually get the car and set yourself a reminder to apply within that timeframe.

The full terms and conditions are on the Gov.uk website.

How do I claim the EVHS?

You can’t apply directly, so you’ll need to apply through one of the EVHS-approved installers linked to above.

They’ll provide you with a grant application form to fill in. While you do, it’s worth having the following to hand:

• Evidence that you’re the owner (or keeper) of the vehicle. This proof of purchase could be the lease contract, finance forms, order / delivery form, or other evidence of you becoming the primary user of the vehicle.
• Any documents will need to provide the name of the driver claiming the Grant – this will need to be the name of the vehicle’s registered keeper, or a nominated user of the vehicle.
• You’ll also need to provide your address and contact details, alongside vehicle information such as make and model, Vehicle Registration Number (VRN) or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

Learn more about the EVHS on the Gov.uk website (external link)

Energy Saving Trust (EST) Grant Scotland

In Scotland, EV owners can apply for another grant from the Energy Saving Trust.

In addition to the EVHS grant of £350, the Energy Saving Trust can provide up to £250 of further funding towards the cost of a home charge point. An additional £100 on top of all this is available to those in the most remote parts of Scotland.

The EST funding is reimbursed after the installation is complete. To apply, you’ll need to submit an application form alongside a quote from your OZEV installer and proof of purchase or lease of an eligible EV.

This grant is only available in Scotland.

Learn more about Scotland's EST scheme.

On-street Residential Charging Scheme (ORCS)

If you don’t have off-road parking and cannot apply for the EVHS grant, you could ask your local authority about the On-street Residential Charging Scheme (ORCS).

This is another Government grant, which provides funding for local authorities to use towards finding and installing residential chargers.

Am I eligible for the On-street Residential Charging Scheme?

To be eligible, local authorities must demonstrate off-road parking is not available to residents – either through maps or photos.

The On-street Residential Charging Scheme is administered by the Energy Saving Trust on behalf of OZEV. They have allocated £20 million of funding between 2021 and 2022.

This funding is made available to local authorities successfully applying with eligible projects. Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis.

How do I claim the On-street Residential Charging Scheme?

This scheme is designed to support current and anticipated charging needs of residents. To apply, local authorities will have to establish there is a need, or there will be a need in the near future.

So, if you’re getting an electric car, or thinking about it, let your local authority know. The more requests they get for on-street residential chargers in an area, the stronger a case they have for applying to the On-street Residential Charging Scheme.

It isn’t quite as simple as that – they’ll need to prove the needs can be met through the charging infrastructure and several other factors, including proving the value for money – but it’s a good start.

Learn more about the On-street Residential Charging Scheme on the Gov.uk website (external link).
Audi E Tron charging

Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS)

Businesses, charities and the wider public sector (such as WHO), can apply for grants under the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS).

This scheme contributes up to 75% towards the procurement and installation of charging points, up to a cap of £350 per charging socket. Workplaces can apply for up to 40 charging sockets, to be used by employees and fleets.

Am I eligible for WCS?

The WCS eligibility criteria are similar to those used by the EVHS. They’ll need to install OZEV-approved chargers and hire an OZEV-approved installer too.

The applicant business or charity must be based in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland – the Isle of Man, Channel Islands and crown dependencies are currently ineligible.

They’ll also need to be registered with HMRC. The full eligibility criteria are available on the Gov.uk website.

How do I claim WCS?

Workplaces will need to provide a Companies House reference, their VAT registration number or a copy of their registration to HMRC.

If a business is not VAT-registered, it will have to provide evidence that they are registered as a company with HMRC.
Charities need to upload a certificate of registration to the Charity Commission.

Workplaces need to use an online application form. To apply, they will need to provide:
• Evidence of their eligibility
• Details of where the installations will be
• Conditions for the use of any workplace charge points
• A declaration of the current need for, or intent to encourage the uptake of, eligible electric vehicles
• Declaration of any state aid received under “de minimis” (learn more)
• Contact details

Generally, successful applications will receive a voucher within five working days. This voucher will be valid for six months and must be redeemed with an OZEV-approved installer.

Learn more about the Workplace Charging Scheme on the Gov.uk website (external link).

Learn more about electric cars