The motor industry has criticised the government’s cut to grants aimed at encouraging people to purchase electric vehicles.
The Department for Transport announced that the grant will be restricted to cars under £35,000 in value, and that the grant itself will be slashed from £3000 to £2500.
However, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have called it "the wrong move at the wrong time".
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "This sends the wrong message to the consumer, especially private customers, and to an industry challenged to meet the government's ambition to be a world leader in the transition to zero emission mobility.”
Ford of Britain described the cut as "disappointing”, adding that it “is not conducive to supporting the zero emissions future we all desire”.
Graham Hoare, Ford of Britain chairman, said: "Robust incentives - both purchase and usage incentives - that are consistent over time are essential if we are to encourage consumers to adopt new technologies.”
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) condemned the move, saying "this is the wrong time to stunt a green recovery by making a sudden change to the grants on offer."
CBI chief UK policy director, Matthew Fell, said "we must avoid sending mixed messages to consumers and businesses.
"Switching to an electric vehicle still has many barriers, including high upfront costs and availability of reliable charging points.
"A clear and consistent pathway for incentives will ensure business can continue to deliver the government's ambitions for reducing transport emissions.”
The government defended the change, saying that more expensive vehicles tend to be bought by those who could switch to an electric vehicle without needing a subsidy.
The government also said that the amendment to the grant will allow grant funding to go further.
Rachel Maclean, the transport minister, said: "We want as many people as possible to be able to make the switch to electric vehicles.
"The increasing choice of new vehicles, growing demand from customers, and rapidly rising number of chargepoints means that while the level of funding remains as high as ever, given soaring demand, we are re-focusing our vehicle grants on the more affordable zero emission vehicles."
The government said that it is looking to make changes to the plug-in van grant, as well as changing the eligibility criteria for the grant for vehicles that can travel 60 miles with zero emissions.
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