Motoring groups have expressed their concern over the government cutting grants for new electric and hybrid cars, calling it a “step backwards”.
The RAC and AA criticised the move which will see fewer models eligible for the scheme and the money available to drivers reduced from 12 November.
Department for Transport (DfT) announced the change to cash incentives being offered since 2011 to encourage people to go green.
The scheme splits the vehicles included into three categories based on their CO2 emissions and zero-emission range.
Category one cars – those meeting the toughest restrictions – can see buyers claiming up to £4,500 to go towards the cost of the vehicle. Motorists can claim up to £2,500 for cars in category two and three.
The government’s changes mean the maximum grant for category one vehicles will be cut by £1,000 to £3,500, with grants for the remaining two categories scrapped completely.
The motoring groups warned the move would leave the government struggling to meet vehicle emissions targets.
The AA’s head of roads policy, Jack Cousens, said: “The government wants to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars, but scrapping grants for low emission cars may well stall their progress.”
He added: “This announcement will simply put more drivers off from buying greener cars.”
Nicholas Lyes, the RAC’s head of roads policy. said the decision was a “major blow” to those hoping to “go green”, adding that it made “little sense” in terms of lowering emissions.
He said: “With up-front costs still a huge barrier for those hoping to switch to an electric vehicle, this move from the government is a big step backwards and is in stark contrast to countries like Norway, where generous tax incentives have meant that it has one of the highest ownership levels of ultra-low emission vehicles of anywhere in the world.”