‘Go Ultra Low’ with Toyota

Toyota is backing the Government’s new Go Ultra Low campaign to help us realise that now is the time to buy ultra-low emission cars, such as the Prius Plug-in Hybrid.

CO2 emissions output is an increasingly important factor when deciding on the purchase of a new car. Legislation is incentivising manufacturers to develop and employ new technologies to reduce a vehicle’s running costs and environmental impact.

At the moment there is a total of 20 cars that meet the Government’s criteria for an ultra-low emissions vehicle (ULEV) with tailpipe emissions of less than 75g/km of CO2. However, by the end of 2014, all of the top ten car manufacturers will have an electrically assisted model within their range that meets this description.

Toyota has been well ahead of the curve in this respect, producing the ultra-low emission Prius Plug-in Hybrid model since 2012. It is a vehicle that offers a 15-mile electric range sufficient for most short-distance journeys allied to a charging self-sufficiency that totally removes the range anxiety associated with pure electric cars. The model delivers 134.5mpg on the official plug-in test cycle and its CO2 output of 49g/km is well below the Government cut-off.

The Go Ultra Low campaign was launched today in London by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who also outlined the Government’s £8.8 million investment in charge point infrastructure. He was keen to stress the advantages of ULEVs in today’s society: “These vehicles have multiple benefits – they drive down emissions, save money with extremely low running costs and create… high-tech engineering.”

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders agreed. “This is a significant development,” he said. ” The Go Ultra Low campaign will help the public understand how these new cars work and how they could be a perfect fit for their personal, business or fleet needs. We hope the campaign will encourage more people to consider going ultra low.”

The Government already offers prospective buyers up to £5000 contribution towards the purchase cost of a new ULEV (or £8000 for a new ULEV van), an amount that comes from a budget of £900 million put aside to support the uptake of these vehicles until the year 2020.

In addition to this contribution, Toyota has formed a partnership with British Gas and Scottish Gas (Scotland and Northern Ireland) to offer reduced rates on installation of a dedicated charging point at your home or business. Prices start from as little as £375, and in some areas installation is completely free.

Read a full review of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid here, or visit the designated section for this model on the Toyota website to arrange a test drive.


  1. Great initiative and as a company car driver the BIK incentive to choose a car like the Prius Plug In is obvious. However, despite offering literally 100s of cars and engine combinations my company’s Fleet provider (GE) doesn’t offer a single ultra low option to choose from. Even if they did, as I understand it the £5000 grant doesn’t get passed onto company car drivers, so I’d have to pay tax on the full car cost anyway. Company car drivers seem like an obvious target for ultra low, but is anything being done to (a) ensure fleet providers actually offer the choice and (b) share the government grant with those who do via reduced list pric to pay tax on?

    1. Hi Graz
      Thanks for your post.
      We do take on board your point but although the BIK value doesn’t include the grant at just the 5% rate it’s only £56 a month for a 40% taxpayer and only £19 a month for the company in national Insurance contributions, so great value for the them as well. We are always happy to show any company how much they can also save by offering the choice of going ultra low.
      Hope this helps.

      1. Hi David,

        Thanks for getting back to me. I’d love to get a Prius Plug-In, and as you point out even without the grant, the low BIK% tax rate means it would save me a small fortune (about £180 per month on car and fuel tax vs. my current Golf Bluemotion).

        So while it would be frustrating having to pay tax on the grant amount, that’s not the real issue. The problem is that most company car schemes limit the car you can choose depending on your pay grade. In my case, the cap is c.£30k (based on the full list price) – without the grant this car would be too expensive for me, whereas with the grant it would become an option for someone at my grade. You would need to be a couple of pay grades above where I am to be able to choose this car (unless the grant benefit was passed on), which rules out the majority of company car buyers, certainly at my company! Besides, until more fleet providers actually offer ULEVs the whole debate is pretty academic.

        This is why I find the whole Go Ultra Low initiative so frustrating – the Government are pouring millions of pounds into it before some of the key barriers to owning an ULEV are removed. I’m someone who doesn’t need convincing of the benefits – I’d love to get one – but until these three practical issues are resolved it’s just a pipedream…

        1 – Not enough fleet providers even offer the choice of ULEVs
        2 – Unless plug-in grants are passed onto company car drivers via reduced list prices, the majority of us still wouldn’t be eligible (at least not for plug-in hybrids like the Prius)
        3 – Although relatively small in the grand scheme of things, having to pay tax on the grant amount is still a deterrent that could be avoided (it would cost me an extra £100 per year in tax)

        Company cars account for over half new car purchasers, so the more I think about it, the more ill-thought out this campaign is. I think all it will achieve is to create a load of demand amongst company car drivers, who are ultimately left frustrated that they couldn’t choose an ULEV even if they wanted to.

        That’s why I asked what’s going on as part of this campaign to pro-actively resolve problems like the ones I’ve raised? Or is this campaign purely aimed at changing consumer perceptions of ULEVs?



      2. Hi Graz
        Thanks for your reply and we do see the frustration you face regarding your company car.
        Would it help if a member of our fleet team was to get in touch with your company? They would be happy to visit and explain further about the low emission cars we offer. If this is of interest let me know and I will send you a direct email with further details.
        Finally to answer your question this campaign is a bit of both, about raising awareness and also to help change customer perception about the range of vehicles available, plus of course the Government grant, though we do take on board your comments.
        Hope this helps.

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