Mitsubishi Calls To Reinstate UK PHEV Incentives

Mitsubishi has spoken out against the UK government removing the consumer incentives for PHEVs, saying the government “massively underestimates” the benefits of PHEVs.

The UK government recently removed the Plug-In Car Grant and Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) benefit, both of which it offered to consumers looking to buy a PHEV. With the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) releasing figures yesterday that show PHEV sales were down in April by over a third and by over 20% year-to-date, the removal of the PHEV incentives have largely been blamed.

Now Mitsubishi, which sells the Outlander PHEV, is calling for a reinstatement of these incentives. The Japanese manufacturer says the UK government does not understand the benefits of PHEVs, and has misconceptions about why consumers would buy a PHEV. In a survey conducted for the automaker by Kadence International, Mitsubishi found that the primary reasons for buying a PHEV are fuel economy, at 86% of people asked, closely followed by running costs at 85%.

To make buying a PHEV cost-effective, owners need to charge them regularly and keep them charged. Mitsubishi found that 68% of its Outlander PHEV owners charged their car every day, with 90% charging two to three times a week. Meanwhile, just 25% are likely to consider a BEV as their next purchase, showing that while many consumers like the electric aspect of a PHEV, many may not be willing to give up the internal combustion engine just yet. The automaker says that because this survey was conducted with random owners, with around 45,000 of the vehicles on UK roads, it is a “genuine reflection” of how PHEVs are used.

The plug-in car grant, offered by the UK government, provided 35% off the purchase price of a PHEV, up to £3,500. However, the rules changed in October last year, with the government now only offering the grant to cars which have CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km and a zero emission range of at least 70 miles. In effect, this rules out all PHEVs, making the grant eligible for BEVs only, and is responsible for a slump in sales. VED benefits have also been removed from all but and BEVs.

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