Thanks to the extension of the Government Plug-in Car Grant, you can get a healthy discount on a variety of eco-friendly models. We’ve put together a list of all the electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles eligible for the Government grant and grouped them according to how much you could save on each one.
If you’ve been convinced to take the plug-in plunge, you can build your perfect low-emissions vehicle using our car configurator. For more options, read our lists of the best electric cars and the best plug-in hybrid cars currently on sale.
Government grant category one
Category one cars are zero-emissions vehicles capable of at least a 70-mile journey in between charges. To be eligible for the scheme they must also come with a warranty covering the batteries and motors for at least three years, or 60,000 miles. Buy one, and you’ll receive a discount of 35 per cent of the car’s value, up to a maximum of £4,500.
The BMW i3 is the brand’s first fully electric vehicle and combines futuristic styling with advanced manufacturing techniques. A range extending petrol engine is available as an optional extra.
The Citroen CZero is a fully electric car that comes with a 93-mile range and compact dimensions best suited to city driving. Using rapid charging points, you can recharge the batteries to 80 per cent full from flat in just 30 minutes.
The Ford Focus Electric combines all the practicality you could expect from this popular hatchback with a new all-electric drivetrain. It allows you to travel up to 100 miles on a single charge.
The boxy Kia Soul EV offers the refinement of a fully electric drivetrain capable of trips longer than 130 miles with the reassurance of an impressive seven-year warranty.
Although the Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive’s batteries are housed under the rear floor, it still offers an impressive 500 litres of boot space. The drive is as smooth and silent as you’d expect from an electric car and a commute-friendly range of 100 miles make this a good alternative to petrol or diesel B-Class models.
The Mitsubishi iMiEV is based on the same platform as the Citroen CZero and Peugeot iON and, as a result, comes with the same 93-mile range, manoeuvrable chassis and congestion charge exemption.
Unlike some electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, the Nissan Leaf has been designed from the ground-up as an electric car. Intelligent packaging of the electric motor and batteries mean this fairly compact car still has a usable 370-litre boot and decent space inside for passengers.
The Peugeot iON is a fully electric vehicle that shares a platform with the Citroen CZero and the Mitsubishi iMiEV. A 93-mile range and compact dimensions make it most at home in the city.
The Renault Zoe is a fully electric vehicle and a competent rival to the Nissan Leaf. Although smaller, the Zoe is better equipped yet comes at a similar price. The Renault has a more limited range of around 100 miles but it would make a good car for commuters, especially in cities.
Aiming to compete with the likes of Porsche and Mercedes, the all-electric Tesla Model S claims a very impressive 265-mile range and even has a very practical 894-litre boot. You can even specify a third row of rear-facing seats turning this stylish sporty car into a seven-seater.
The Toyota Mirai is neither a conventional petrol or diesel car, nor a battery-powered electric vehicle. Instead it uses hydrogen fuel-cell technology to power a 152hp electric motor. The Mirai emits nothing but water and can cover 300 miles on a single tank of hydrogen. Filling stations are currently limited but this could well be the long-term future of motoring.
The smallest model in the Volkswagen range, the e-Up promises congestions charge-beating motoring. The 81hp electric motor powers the front wheels while the 230kg battery pack lies beneath the floor to avoid affecting interior volume or boot space.
A purely electric alternative to a petrol or diesel model, the Volkswagen e-Golf combines the good build-quality of the standard car with a fully electric drivetrain. The boot is now 40 litres smaller to accommodate a 318kg battery pack but interior space for drivers and passengers remains unchanged.
Government grant Category two
Cars included in category two are plug-in hybrid vehicles that are capable of an all-electric range of between 10 and 69 miles while emitting less than 50g/km of CO2. These cars will all come with a discount of up to 35 per cent of the car’s value, or £2,500, whichever is less.
This plug-in hybrid version of the five-door Audi A3 uses a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine coupled with a 101hp electric motor. The batteries that allow it to travel for 31 miles in fully electric mode do, however, occupy a large amount of the available boot space, reducing it to a supermini-like 280 litres.
The BMW 225xe is capable of 25 miles in pure electric mode and can return a claimed 141.2mpg thanks to its combination of an electric motor and compact three-cylinder petrol engine. The batteries can be charged in as little as two hours using the optional BMW i-Wallbox charging system.
The BMW 330e adds a plug-in hybrid system to the proven 3 Series platform. Its combination of 2.0-litre turbocharged engine and compact electric motor deliver a total of 250hp but the low 44g/km of CO2 it emits ensure it’s both free to tax and congestion charge exempt.
The Mercedes C350e combines a four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric drivetrain to deliver fuel economy of as high as 134.5mpg and CO2 emissions as low as 49g/km. Unfortunately, noise levels rise and refinement drops considerably when the electric motor needs assistance from the petrol engine.
One of the most popular plug-in hybrid of the last few years, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV combines chunky SUV styling, family friendly practicality and ultra low emissions in one very capable package.
A new battery pack has boosted the range of the latest Toyota Prius significantly. The 1.8-litre petrol engine is used, unlike some other plug-in hybrids, to both drive the wheels and charge the batteries which, when combined with the CVT gearbox, makes the car easy to drive if somewhat unrefined when accelerating hard.
Instead of a pure electric setup like the e-Golf, the Volkswagen Golf GTE combines a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol with an electric motor to return an impressive 166mpg while emitting just 39g/km of CO2.
The Volvo V60 D5 and D6 Twin Engine models feature a combination of an electric motor and a diesel engine. Despite not fitting a smoother petrol, the Volvo seamlessly shifts from electric to diesel power in a manner reviewers have described as ‘unnoticeable’. Claimed fuel economy of 155.2mpg is good for a large, practical estate car.
The use of a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine to drive the front wheel and an electric motor for the rear means this large seven-seater SUV can jump from 0 to 60mph in just 5.6 seconds, yet still return 134.5mpg. Be aware that only XC90 T8 models costing less than £60,000 will qualify.
Government grant category three
Cars eligible for category three grants must be plug-in hybrid vehicles that emit between 50g and 75g/km of CO2, yet be able to travel further than 20 miles in pure electric modes alone. Cars that fit this bill will be eligible for the same 35 per cent, or £2,500, grant as category two vehicles.
If the ultra-luxurious Mercedes S-Class wasn’t quite refined enough, the hybrid can be driven for 20 miles in fully electric mode which, providing you can charge it at home or at work, means short commutes can be completed without ever using the petrol engine.
Although the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid can travel between 11 and 22 miles in fully electric mode, the extra 300kg of batteries and electric drivetrain means, when the petrol engine is called upon under heavy acceleration or to charge the batteries, fuel economy drops to a less than impressive 30mpg.
It’s worth noting than any new vehicle that costs more than £60,000 will be excluded from Government grants regardless of its emissions or all-electric range. Cars such as the BMW i8, therefore, will not receive any discount despite their eco-friendly abilities.
Save money on your new low-emissions car
If any of the cars above have piqued you interest, our car configurator can help you to get one with a fantastic discount from the UK’s best dealers. If you aren’t sure which is best for you, our deals pages and car chooser can help.