But is that all there is to it? How do you go about getting it? Might it be withdrawn as more a more driveers make the switch to electric vehicles (EVs)? To answer these questions and more, here’s our guide to the PiCG.
What is the PiCG?
The PiCG is a government grant that helps toward the cost of a new ultra low-emission car – which, at present, means a battery electric (EV) or hydrogen-powered car. These are still quite expensive to buy, because batteries and hydrogen fuel cells aren’t cheap to produce.
So the idea is that the grant will help to make them more affordable, and therefore more accessible to a greater proportion of people while the cost is still high – thus accelerating their uptake throughout the UK and, as a result of the increased demand, bringing down the cost sooner.
How much can you get off the price of a new car?
The PiCG pays up to 35 per cent of the cost of an eligible new car, up to a maximum of £3,000.
In practice this means the grant is almost always the maximum figure of £3,000, as the vast majority of qualifying cars have reasonably high list prices.
Which cars qualify for the grant?
New cars with CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km, and that are able to travel at least 70 miles with no exhaust emissions, are eligible.
In practice, that means electric and hydrogen-powered cars at the moment – but qualifying cars must also carry a manufacturer list price of less than £50,000, so if it’s an expensive electric car you’re thinking of buying, you won’t get a discount.
The handful of hydrogen cars currently on sale also cost more than this so, in practice, they don’t qualify either.
Can you get the PiCG on a hybrid car?
In theory yes, but in practice no. At the moment, there are no hybrid cars on sale that can travel 70 miles on electric power alone, so none are eligible.
However, were a hybrid car that could achieve this benchmark while also keeping its official CO2 emissions below 50g/km to come on the market, it would qualify.
A range extender, such as the BMW i3 that was available until recently, might also qualify under these conditions.
Does the grant apply to used cars?
No, used cars are not eligible. You can only get the PiCG once in a car’s life, which is when it’s brand new and bought from a dealer or directly from a manufacturer.
That said, the used values of any qualifying car will be predicated upon its post-PiCG price when it was new; in other words, you do get some of the benefit of the grant when buying second-hand, even if you don’t get the grant itself.
How do you claim the PiCG?
You don’t need to – the manufacturer will have done that for you. In fact, if you’re buying a car that qualifies for the PiCG, the purchase process should be exactly the same as it would be for any car purchase.
How do you know whether a car’s price includes the grant?
You’ll need to double check: some manufacturers quote a car’s price before the PiCG has been applied; others quote the price after the PiCG. This can make it tricky to compare prices between different models, and you might need to pay close attention to the small print.
If you’re in any doubt, ask your dealer to confirm the price of the car before and after the PiCG – so that you have both figures to hand for every car you’re considering.
Here at Telegraph Cars, we quote the on-the-road price – in other words, the price you pay at the dealer, which takes the PiCG into account. However, we always point out that that is the case, so that you can work out the pre-PiCG price if you need to.
When will the PiCG scheme end?
It has been around for seven years, so it might feel pretty permanent. However, when it was first established, the PiCG was conceived as a temporary measure, with a view to helping to bring down the cost of electric cars in the short-term, the idea being that the cost of batteries would drop and bring list prices of electric and electrified cars down naturally.
As a result, the Government is gradually reducing it year by year, in an attempt to wean the industry – and us car buyers – off. But while it won’t last forever, we don’t know when it will come to an end, and there are no plans to do away with it imminently.
Will the PiCG be changed in the future?
Once again, we don’t know for sure – but the chances are that it will be. This intention to gradually reduce the PiCG, combined with the Government’s need to find ways to pay the considerable cost of the measures taken during the Covid-19 pandemic, will almost certainly lead to the grant being cut back in the coming years, if not months.
In other words, if you want to take advantage, it makes sense to do so sooner rather than later.
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