LONDON -- The UK will cut the incentives for plug-in hybrid vehicles as it focuses on full-electric models, sparking anger from an industry trade body as automakers already face declining sales in Europe's second-biggest car market.
Buyers of vehicles which emit less than 50 grams/km of CO2 and have a electric-only range of at least 70 miles (113 km) will see the grant they are eligible for reduced by 22 percent to 3,500 pounds ($4,630).
Those purchasing cars emitting up to 75 g/km of CO2 but with a lower zero-emission range will no longer be eligible for such support under plans due to come into force next month.
"With plug-in hybrid models like the Mitsubishi Outlander becoming popular among consumers the government is focusing its attention to zero-emission models such as the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3," the government said in a statement.
Sales of alternative-fuel vehicles, which include different types of environmentally-friendly cars, are the fastest growing part of the market, rising 22 percent so far this year, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
However, the overall market is down 7.5 percent so far this year hit by a clampdown on diesel and a more stringent emissions regime.
"Prematurely removing upfront purchase grants can have a devastating impact on demand. Without world-class incentives, government's world-class ambitions will not be delivered," said SMMT CEO Mike Hawes.
The announcement comes just over two weeks before finance minister Philip Hammond is due to make his annual budget statement.