Changes the plug-in van grant has been announced by the UK Government, including a cut to its value for smaller vans and tighter rules on eligibility.

Previously, vans with official CO2 emissions of less than 75g/km, that could travel at least 10 miles without any CO2 emissions, were eligible for a grant paying 20% of their purchase price, up to a maximum of £8,000.

Now, the rules say that vans must have CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km and be able to travel at least 60 miles emission-free to be eligible.

For vans weighing less than 2.5t, the maximum grant level has also been reduced, to £3,000, able to cover up to 35% of the purchase price.

The value of the grant for 2.5t-3.5t vans remains unchanged, at a maximum of £8,000 for 20%.

The government has also announced a £500 cut to the plug-in car grant. The changes are all effective immediately.

Transport minister Rachel Maclean said: “We want as many people as possible to be able to make the switch to electric vehicles as we look to reduce our carbon emissions, strive towards our net-zero ambitions and level up right across the UK.

“The increasing choice of new vehicles, growing demand from customers and rapidly rising number of charge points mean that, while the level of funding remains as high as ever, given soaring demand, we are refocusing our vehicle grants on the more affordable zero emission vehicles – where most consumers will be looking and where taxpayers’ money will make more of a difference.

“We will continue to review the grant as the market grows.”

The government’s announcement has been criticised by Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive Mike Hawes.

He said: “The decision to slash the plug-in car and van and truck grant is the wrong move at the wrong time. New battery electric technology is more expensive than conventional engines and incentives are essential in making these vehicles affordable to the customer.

“Cutting the grant and eligibility moves the UK even further behind other markets, markets which are increasing their support, making it yet more difficult for the UK to get sufficient supply. 

“This sends the wrong message to the consumer, especially private customers, and to an industry challenged to meet the government’s ambition to be a world leader in the transition to zero emission mobility.”

BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said the government’s cuts would be particularly hard on commercial vehicle operators.

He said: “Given the surge in battery electric vehicle adoption, it makes sense for the government to reconsider where and how it uses grants and incentives, but today’s move is poorly timed and will slow down the transition to zero emission motoring.

“Confidence in electric vehicles and their running costs is fragile, so slashing the grants and eligibility criteria will put a brake on the fantastic market momentum we have seen in recent months. 

“This will come as a particular blow for the commercial vehicle sector, where BVRLA members have been working so hard to drive uptake of electric vans and trucks. 

“Coming just months before the COP 26 summit and as other countries are increasing their zero emission subsidies, this move could also have a big impact on the supply of electric vehicles coming into the UK.”