Government grants for electric cars

The UK government’s Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) offers various grants, incentives and discount schemes to help individuals and businesses buy electric vehicles (EVs) and to install charging points.

goco author
Updated 14 July 2021  | 6 min read

Key points

Government incentives to help make owning an electric vehicle (EV) more affordable include:

  • The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) 
  • The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) 
  • The On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) 
  • The Plug-In Car Grant (PICG)
  • Interest-free loans to buy an EV in Scotland

Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS)

The EVHS grant offers up to a 75% contribution towards the cost of buying and installing a chargepoint at home.

The amount of support is capped at £350 (including VAT) per installation. If you have two EVs, you can apply for grants for two charge points.

To qualify for the EVHS grant you must:

  • own or lease (or have ordered) a qualifying new or used ultra-low emission EV. All fully electric cars qualify as well as most plug-in hybrids but make sure you check the government’s list of eligible vehicles to make sure.
  • have designated, private off-street parking (such as a drive or garage) at your home
  • have not received grants on the scheme before (or have claimed on the previous Domestic Recharge Scheme)
  • use an EVHS-authorised installer and an EVHS- approved chargepoint model.

To get the grant, first you choose an authorised EVHS installer from the scheme’s approved list.  

The installer will check that you qualify for the grant, apply for it and bill you for the cost of installation, minus the amount of the grant. The installer will then be paid the grant by OZEV.

New-build homes and developments could soon be required to have an EV charging point fitted as standard. The government has consulted on these proposals and results are yet to be published.

Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) grant

This scheme helps make a low-carbon commute that much more convenient. It provides registered businesses, charities, public sector organisations and public authorities with discount vouchers towards the cost of purchasing and installing EV charge points. 

The financial support covers 75% of the cost of a chargepoint and its installation, capped at a limit of £350 per socket. Applicants can apply for a maximum of 40 sockets per company.

To apply, workplaces must:

  • have dedicated off-street parking for staff and/or fleet and visitors.
  • own the property or have consent from the landlord for chargepoints to be installed.

The scheme works like this:

  1. The business or organisation applies for the WCS online
  2. If the application is successful, the organisation receives a voucher code
  3. The applicant redeems their voucher with an OZEV-authorised workplace chargepoint installer. The electrician must install an approved chargepoint model
  4. The installer completes the work and claims the grant. The value of the vouchers will be discounted from the applicant’s invoice

It’s always wise to arrange for an authorised installer to visit your site before applying for the WCS grant. They can check that the premises are able to support the electrical capacity needed for the number of sockets you want to install. An OZEV-approved installer can also help advise on which charge points are compatible with your fleet EVs.

The Energy Saving Trust can also help you choose the best EV charging infrastructure for your business.

On-street residential chargepoint scheme (ORCS)

Charge points can’t be installed at properties such as flats or terraced houses which have no allocated off-street parking. In these cases, EV owners need to plug in at on-street residential charge points.

The ORCS provides funds to local authorities for the cost of installing these charging points on residential streets or in local-authority-owned car parks. 

Local authorities aren’t obligated to provide charge points, though –  and a parliamentary research briefing published in May 2021 showed that uptake for grants has been lower than anticipated, with only 68% of the total budget used.

Rules for the latest financial year (2021/22) have been changed in a bid to encourage more applications. For example, the maximum amount OZEV will fund for a chargepoint has been increased to £13,000 in cases where electrical connection costs are high. Plus there are now no maximum or minimum size limitations placed on project applications.

The scheme is administered for OZEV by The Energy Saving Trust and local authorities are encouraged to get in touch with them for independent advice on the application process. 

The government has a pot of £20 million to fund charging points in the financial year 2021/2022 so, if you’re keen to see charge points near you, get in touch with your local authority or town and parish council to request that they look in to applying for funding.

Plug-in car grant (PICG)

EVs are more expensive to buy than their petrol or diesel engine equivalent. 

So, to make EV ownership more affordable, the government gives grants to vehicle dealerships and manufacturers to discount the price of brand new low and zero-emission vehicles.

You don’t need to apply for the grant - the saving is passed directly to you from the dealership. So the price you see on the forecourt is the price you pay.

The amount of grant depends on the type of vehicle it is, as the table below indicates.

For example, a car with a recommended retail price (RRP) of up to £35,000, with CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km that can travel for at least 70 miles (112km) without any emissions qualifies for a grant of 35% off, up to a maximum discount of £2,500.

Category CO2 emissions Zero emission range Grant Maximum amount
Car (worth up to £35,000) Less than 50 g/km 112 km (70 miles) 35% Up to £2,500
Motorcycle No CO2 50 km (31 miles) 20% Up to £1,500
Moped No CO2 30 km (19 miles) 20% Up to £1,500
Van (up to 2,500kg) Less than 50 g/km 96 km (60 miles) 35% Up to £3,000
Van (2,500kg to 3,500kg) Less than 50 g/km 96 km (60 miles) 35% Up to £6,000
Trucks (up to 12,000kg) Less than 50% of equivalent Euro VI 96 km (60 miles) 20% Up to £16,000 (first 250, 10 per customer) Up to £6,000
Taxis Less than 50 g/km 112 km (70 miles) 20% Up to £7,500

Find out which makes and models of EVs qualify for a plug-in grant at the Department for Transport Government website.

The Low Carbon Transport Loan in Scotland

Transport Scotland offers interest-free loans to help people living in Scotland pay for the cost of a new EV. Repayments can be made over six years. It currently offers loans of:

  • up to £28,000 to buy a new pure electric car or van
  • up to £10,000 to buy a new electric motorcycle or moped

In September 2020, the scheme was extended to give financial support towards buying used EVs. The Used Electric Vehicle Loan has a repayment term of five years and offers:

  • up to £20,000 to buy a used electric car
  • up to £5,000 to buy a used electric motorcycle or moped

For a list of EV makes and models eligible for the loan, visit The Energy Saving Trust, which manages the scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Other financial incentives you get when buying an electric vehicle include:

Exemption from congestion charges

  • Until 25 December 2025, all fully electric cars, vans and other vehicles with zero tailpipe emissions are exempt from paying London’s Congestion Charge but you must apply for the exemption. 
  • Clean Air Zones in cities around the UK charge vehicles which don’t meet the required emission criteria a fee to drive in the zone. For example, Birmingham city’s Clean Air Zone charges non-compliant cars an £8 daily fee. Electric cars with zero tailpipe emissions will be free from Clean Air Zone charges but you should check your vehicle qualifies before you set off.

Road tax savings

  • Fully-electric vehicles are generally exempt from paying Vehicle Excise Duty (car tax), unless you own a car worth more than £40,000. Then you might have to pay £310 for five years.