Cuts to EV grants but boosts to eco-friendly funding, plus Kia's UK launch of the EV6
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Cuts to EV grants but boosts to eco-friendly funding, plus Kia's UK launch of the EV6

As was so ably conveyed by Neil Winton on the Forbes website last month, the rise of the electric car is inexorable. Not only has Boris Johnson promised to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030, but Jaguar has announced plans to go all-electric by 2025 and Volkswagen is expecting electric cars to make up 70% of its sales by the same point.

 The message is clear: electric cars are here to stay, and that zero-emission future is coming up fast.

And it feels even closer when you look at the most recent data from the UK new car market. Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows more than 22,000 new battery-electric vehicles were sold last month – more than double the number registered during the previous March.

Of course, that month was heavily affected by the coronavirus lockdown, but that doesn’t diminish the great strides EVs have made. During the first three months of 2020, electric cars made up less than 4% of all new car sales. Over the first three months of this year, electric vehicles accounted for 7.5% of all new cars sold in the UK.

But changes to the government’s grant for electric cars mean customers can no longer get money off some of the country’s most popular electric models. As was reported by Car Dealer Magazine, the Tesla Model 3 is a key casualty, after the government decided only cars costing less than £35,000 would be eligible for its Plug-In Car Grant, and the grant should be reduced from £3,000 to £2,500 per vehicle.

That meant entry-level Model 3s lost their £3,000 discount overnight, and popular versions of the Kia e-Niro effectively became more expensive. To counter the issue, Kia brought out a new, mid-range version of the e-Niro that snuck in beneath the new threshold. Electrive reported the new car would combine the entry-level ‘2’ trim with the ‘long-range’ 64kWh battery previously reserved for more luxurious ‘3’ and ‘4+’ versions. 

That means customers benefit from a 282-mile official range and a 204hp electric motor, as well as the government’s £2,500 grant.

And that new e-Niro model isn’t the only new Kia on the scene. Electrive also reported the arrival of the Tesla Model 3-rivalling EV6, which is set to arrive in the UK this autumn. Customers get a choice of power outputs from 228hp to 585hp, and there’s a selection of batteries that offer ranges of up to around 317 miles, not to mention a choice of two- or four-wheel drive. 

Customers can reserve their EV6s now, but the first UK-bound cars aren’t expected to reach their new custodians until October.

For a really long-range electric vehicle, though, you might need to look at a Mercedes-Benz. Electrive says the German company has confirmed the new EQS electric luxury limousine will come with a 770km range. That’s the best part of 480 miles between trips to the plug. Add in power outputs of between 333hp and 524hp, and you’ve got a very serious-sounding luxury limousine.

And we can expect more where that came from, after the government announced a mammoth investment in green technology and electric vehicles. Current± News reported the authorities would spend £20 million on electric vehicle battery and charging technology as part of a £112 million splurge on eco-friendly ideas. Current± News says the eligible technologies include zero emission emergency vehicles, charging technology and battery recycling.

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David Hughes

Friday, 17/05/2024