EV buyers may lose 30pc of grant over long delays in delivery of cars

Government support payment is due to drop by €1,500 after July 1 cut-off

The money saved by reducing EV grants will be spent on improving the public charging network. Photo: Getty Images

Caroline O'Doherty

Electric vehicle (EV) buyers experiencing long delays in getting their new car will have to plead their case to hold on to their full purchase grant after the support is cut by 30pc in July.

The Department of Transport said it would pay grants at the current rate of €5,000 to all buyers whose grant is applied for and approved before July 1 and who take delivery of their car within four months of approval.

But some EV owners-in-waiting have been affected by supply-line problems and have been told they won’t get their vehicle for months.

That will take them past the July 1 cut-off date and the four-month eligibility period, after which the grant drops by €1,500 to €3,500.

Some, like Justin Moran from Dublin, have already been waiting a year for their new car. He has recently been told it will be some time in the second half of this year before the car arrives.

“It’s an MG so it’s being made in China and production in China is still very behind schedule after Covid,” said Mr Moran. “We paid the deposit in March last year and we were told it would be around a year before we’d have it, so we were pre-warned.

“But then we were told just before Christmas that it would take a good bit longer, so I’m not sure what that will mean for the grant.”

The Department of Transport said all grant applications received and approved by the grant administrators – the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) – prior to July 1 would be paid at the higher current rate of €5,000.

Under normal circumstances, that is dependent on the car being delivered within four months, but the Department said there may be some flexibility.

“Should a situation arise where, despite the best efforts of customer and dealer to meet the timelines surrounding the grant changes, a vehicle has been inadvertently delayed for reasons outside the control of the customer or dealer, SEAI will review these on a case-by-case basis,” it said.

Waiting times for new EVs lengthened in the last two years due to increased demand, Covid and a worldwide shortage of semiconductors – electrical components essential to EV manufacture.

While dealers said the delays would ease this year, some of the big brands are advising that a three- to six-month wait for popular models is likely.

Mr Moran is hopeful that the SEAI will understand that the delay in his order was unavoidable.

“I’m wondering how long it might take to approve it, though, if they have to review every case where there is a delay. It was supposed to be a fairly straightforward process when we started out.”

He said the grant was an important support in choosing the car.

“It’s costing €35,000 and we’ve never bought a new car before, so it’s a big expense.

“I don’t think if the grant was €1,500 less when we ordered the car that it would have stopped us buying it. But we did factor the €5,000 in the cost, so it was certainly a factor in our choice.”

The Government announced last year that it would begin reducing EV grants as the range of models increases and prices come down.

It said the money would be spent on improving the public charging network instead.

More than 40,000 EV buyers have availed of the grant to date.