“Although the sudden nature of the changes to the plug-in grants announced earlier this year was disappointing, it is encouraging to see that the Government is willing to maintain an open dialogue and work closely with NFDA and its dealer members along the transition to zero emission vehicles”, said Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle dealers in the UK.
Earlier this year, NFDA wrote to the Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport, to express “surprise and regret” at the sudden changes to the Plug-in Car Grant (PICG), the Plug-in Van Grant (PIVG) and the Plug in Truck Grant (PITrG) rates and eligibility criteria.
In a recent letter in response to NFDA, the Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP highlighted that despite appreciating the concerns about the reduction in the grant rates and the “difficulties” that the sudden nature of the changes brought, these are “commercially sensitive” decisions for the Government and providing advanced notice would result in significant spikes in demand which are not affordable within budgets.
It explained that the Government’s objective is to “refocus” the grants on the more affordable zero emission vehicles, “the type of vehicle most motorists buy”. Shapps said “the scheme was never intended to be a permanent fixture of the market” and would be phased out as the market matures. He also acknowledged that since changing the grant, his “officials have held a series of workshops with stakeholders, including one with NFDA members” and they “continue to discuss grant-related issues with your team”.
The Transport Secretary agreed that “we must ensure we are supporting an equitable transition to decarbonised transport and recognise the importance of the second-hand car market in achieving this”.
He concluded: “I look forward to working closely with dealers as we continue along the transition to zero emission vehicles”.
The letter summarised the Government’s threefold strategy:
- Offering grants for new zero emission vehicles to help reduce the upfront purchase price, stimulating the market and increasing the supply of vehicles feeding through to the second-hand market.
- Funding chargepoint infrastructure at homes, workplaces, residential streets and across the wider roads network, to provide motorists with confidence to purchase an electric vehicle.
- Ensuring a framework of supportive policies, such as £0 road tax and exploring introducing initiatives such as battery state of health reports for used cars
Sue Robinson added: “The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP’s response is a positive step as the continued dialogue with the Government helps our members and the whole automotive industry to plan and adapt. Franchised dealers are embracing the transition to zero emissions, but it is vitally important that businesses and consumers alike are supported and incentivised.
“We look forward to working closely with the Government and our members during this crucial transition for our sector”.
Last week, Government endorsed and co-funded Electric Vehicle Approved (EVA) accreditation scheme was mentioned in the ‘delivery plan’ to decarbonise transport by 2050 among the initiatives raising awareness of zero emission vehicles and boosting consumer confidence.
As the scheme continues to expand, NFDA is also hosting a series of events to support dealers’ transition to zero emissions. On Thursday 22 July a “Strategic EV Forum” held in conjunction with the MHA EV Alliance will take place in Warwick. In August, “EV Readiness Roadshows” for NFDA members will be held in Newbury, Leeds and Northampton. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the RMI
The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.