Mitsubishi calls for plug-in hybrid grant to be reinstated

Mitsubishi is leading calls for the UK government to revive its axed financial incentive scheme for buyers of plug-in hybrid vehicles. 

The Japanese car maker says that UK owners of its Outlander PHEV hybrid SUV cover half their average weekly mileage in electric mode, substantially lessening the model’s environmental impact.

The grant in question, axed in October last year, enhanced the appeal of hybrid vehicles by offering buyers a £2500 – £4500 subsidy depending on the model’s zero-emissions range. 

According to a survey commissioned by Mitsubishi but conducted independently, over two thirds of Outlander PHEV owners charge their vehicle daily, with 90% charging at least 2-3 times per week. 

Mitsubishi says the results of this survey oppose the notion that PHEVs are rarely plugged in, and are purchased as a means of paying reduced benefit-in-kind tax.

The vast majority of Outlander PHEVs are charged at owners’ homes, with only 23% of drivers relying on public charge points, which Mitsubishi says “refutes the misconception that PHEVs are preventing electric vehicles from accessing charging units”. 

Mitsubishi says 25% of UK Outlander PHEV owners would consider a pure electric vehicle as their next purchase – implying that incentivising sales of hybrids could help the government in its mission to end the sale of conventionally fuelled vehicles by 2040. 

The company’s appeal comes days after it was revealed that UK sales of plug-in hybrids fell by 34.3% in April – a direct result of the government’s abolition of financial incentives for anything but pure-electric vehicles. 

The Outlander PHEV is the UK’s biggest-selling plug-in hybrid, with an estimated 45,000 currently on the road.