Prices have been slashed to keep them below the new £35k cutoff for electric car grants.
Nissan has become the latest car maker to drop its electric car prices in the wake of changes to the government’s electric vehicle grant. The government reduced the Plug-In Car Grant (PICG) on March 18, reducing the number of cars eligible for the grant and cutting the size of the payments.
As a result, the PICG is now only available to cars that cost less than £35,000, and those cars now only receive grants of £2,500 per car. Six months ago, that figure was £500 higher and it was offered to all electric cars costing less than £50,000.
The government said it made the decision to cut the grant to make the funding “go further” and to “help more people make the switch to an electric vehicle”. Even so, the changes were widely criticised by industry bodies including the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which said the change was “the wrong move at the wrong time”.
In light of those changes, manufacturers have scrambled to cut prices and make their cars eligible for the grant. Citroen dropped the price of its most luxurious e-C4 family car, while Vauxhall tweaked the Mokka-e pricing policy and even BMW slashed the price of the i3 electric hatchback. Kia, meanwhile, created a new entry-level version of its ‘long-range’ e-Niro compact SUV to make it eligible for the grant.
Now Nissan has joined the party, dropping prices for both 40 kWh and 62 kWh versions of the Leaf electric hatchback. The reductions mean all versions of the Leaf are now eligible for the grant, with prices starting at £25,995 when the PICG has been applied.
However, it’s the more expensive models that really benefit from the cut, bringing their asking prices below the magic £35,000 cutoff. The range-topping 62 kWh e+ Tekna model comes in at £34,995 before the grant, allowing it to fall to £32,445 when the PICG is applied.
As a result of these changes, the range is now much cheaper than it was before, with the 40 kWh Leaf Tekna – the cherry on top of the 40 kWh Leaf range – coming in at £5 short of £30,000. The longer-range 62 kWh Leaf range, meanwhile, kicks off with the N-Connecta model that now costs £30,445 once the PICG has been applied.
Nissan claims the changes now make the Leaf, which was among the pioneers of modern electric vehicles, “the most accessible electric ‘C-segment’ family hatchback” on sale in the UK.