Open letter to the Prime Minister
An open letter signed by LeasePlan’s Managing Director is being sent to Prime Minister Boris Johnson next week, asking him to pledge continued support for the Plug-In Car and Van Grants.
The letter, organised by the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), has also been signed by several other leasing and rental organisations.
Committee on Climate Change
The Prime Minister is the chair of the newly announced Cabinet Committee on Climate Change, and the letter warns that uncertainty over these grants could damage the transition to zero emission transport.
Business fleets buy over 50% of all new vehicles sold each year, including the majority of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs). The BVRLA letter warns that the transition to electric vehicles is ‘at an incredibly fragile stage’ with BEVs responsible for just over 1% of new vehicle sales in 2019.
Grant certainty needed
‘It is vital that the Government provides future certainty around the status and lifespan of the Plug-In Car and Van Grants,’ it says.
For many company car drivers and small business owners the Plug-In Car grant is crucial as it means that some BEVs can be offered at a monthly cost similar to an equivalent petrol or diesel. Without it, the monthly rate would rise, the letter claims, ‘by well over £100’.
As well as making them much less attractive, this would see BEVs removed from many company car choice lists altogether, depriving hundreds of thousands of employees of the option of going zero-emission.
Surge in EV demand
Current long wait times for popular BEVs – as much as 9-to-12 months for some – also mean that fleets need to know if a BEV ordered now will still qualify for the grant when it is delivered.
The surge in demand for BEVs was driven in part by the 2018 changes to the Plug-In Car Grant, which decreased the grant rate for category 1 vehicles from £4,500 to £3,500 and removed category 2 and 3 vehicles from grant eligibility altogether. These changes were introduced at short notice, and the BVRLA and LeasePlan would like to avoid any repetition.
‘Looking forward, any change in the grant must be gradual and clearly signposted, giving customers time to act and vehicle manufacturers time to reconsider their BEV pricing,’ the letter concludes.
Read the BVRLA letter here