Hybrid sales expected to surge ahead of subsidy cuts

The UK Government's decision to halve the subsidy rates given to hybrid vehicles has created a wave of increased interest in hybrid models ahead of the March deadline, Japanese carmaker Mitsubishi has claimed.

As part of the announcement to extend the plug-in car grant by at least two years, the subsidies available for hybrid vehicles will fall from £5,000 to £2,500 after 1 March 2016 – a move which Mitsubishi claim has seen enquiries for the Outlander PHEV hybrid skyrocket, as customers aim to get orders in place before the deadline.

Mitsubishi’s sales and marketing director Toby Marshall said: “We are having many more enquires than usual, as buyers are looking to order their Outlander PHEV before the grant reduces. Dealers are reporting a huge increase in interest and website traffic is higher than ever.”

Orders can still be made on hybrid-vehicles before the end of February and will still qualify for the full grant even if they are not delivered and paid for by November this year.

Grants to subsidise the purchase of electric and other low-emission cars were extended as part of the Government’s aim to encourage more than 100,000 UK motorists to buy greener vehicles.

Nissan has also expressed its support for the extension of the grant with EV category manager for UK sales Robert Tweedie telling edie: “We’re confident that the UK electric vehicle market still has plenty of room to grow.

“With new models being launched into the sector combined with a constantly improving infrastructure, it will only help to raise the profile and the practical benefits of all-electric driving further.” 

Back in December, the Government rolled out a new £400m package, aimed at trebling the number of ultra-low emission vehicles that are driven in Britain.

The grant, introduced in 2011 and due to expire in early 2016, has already seen about 50,000 low emission vehicles – mainly electric but also hybrid and hydrogen powered – sold at a substantial discount to consumers. The lower subsidy brackets will only apply to hybrid vehicles.

Mitsubishi claim that the Outlander PHEV is leading the UK plug-in hybrid market. It has sold 16,000 models and reportedly accounts for around half of the plug-in car grant applications. 

Nissan recently announced that Nissan LEAF sales in the UK had reached 167,725 – a 12% increase on 2014.

Paved with good intentions

Both Nissan and Renault – a leading pioneer in the emerging EV market – are pushing to improve infrastructure in order to develop on the wave of momentum that the plug-in car grant looks set to create.

Earlier this month it was revealed that sales of alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFVs) rose more than 40% in the UK last year, gaining a largest ever market share of 2.8%

The cities of Nottingham, Bristol, Milton Keynes and London are set to welcome an array of green vehicle technologies and innovations after winning a share of a new £40m fund from the Government to support the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) across the UK.

Matt Mace

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