Nissan is the latest carmaker to cut the cost of its EVs following last month’s surprise announcement by the UK Government to massively reduce the financial incentives for Brits to buy electric cars.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Government announced in March that it was reducing the grant given to electric car buyers from £3000 ($4170) to £2500 ($3470). But worse still, the price threshold for eligibility for the grant was cut from £50,000 ($69,400) to just £35,000 ($48,600). And in a country where higher car prices means even a basic Mustang Mach-E stickers at £41k ($57k), that meant almost all but the smallest, most basic EVs were suddenly ineligible for the grant.
Carmakers, who seemed to have no clue that this bombshell was about to hit them, have been scrambling to react in the weeks since. Nissan’s response has been to reduce the prices of all Leaf models, not just the two high-spec versions that fell foul of the grant changes.
A basic 40kWh Leaf Acenta now costs £25,995 ($36,100) down £1350 ($1875) versus the cost under the old scheme, and the top-spec 62kWh e+ Tekna is now priced at £32,445 ($45,100), a drop of £5265 ($7310).
Other carmakers have already made changes. Vauxhall cut the price of its Mokka-e SUV, and Citroën reduced the price of its e-C4 hatch to make sure every version of both cars just sneaked under the £35k. And BMW sliced almost £6000 ($8300) off its i3, and nearly £7500 (a staggering $10,4100) from the speedier i3s.
Kia, meanwhile, whipped up a previously unavailable version of its big-selling e-Niro. Immediately following the change to the grant the faster, more desirable and more practical 64kWh e-Niro missed out on the subsidy, meaning buyers had to make do with the weedy 39kWh battery if they wanted to take advantage of the Government’s help.
But by pairing the big battery with the entry-level ‘2’ trim, Kia cooked up an e-Niro that costs £34,945 before the handout. The bigger power pack cuts the 0-62mph time from 9.5 seconds to 7.5 seconds, and improves the driving range from 180 miles to 282.
We’ll have to wait to see if Ford, Volkswagen and Volvo make any changes to prices of the Mach-E, ID.4 and XC40 Recharge, all of which are priced way above the £35k threshold.