The Government has committed to a 2-year extension of plug-in van and truck grants, with the Department for Transport (DfT) saying that the move will support the purchase of tens of thousands of greener vans and trucks and help make the UK less reliant on imports of foreign oil.
In 2021, industry data showed the UK had the highest number of plug-in electric vans sold in Europe and there were around 4 times as many grant applications compared to 2020.
Existing grants have supported the purchase of more than 26,000 electric vans and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) across the UK since the programme launched in 2012.
Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said:
“Government grants for electric vans and trucks has helped kickstart the market, which now offers more than 30 models of electric vans and trucks which qualify for such schemes.
“Electric vehicles are becoming more popular and affordable, and the number of available models will continue to rise, allowing more people and businesses to benefit from the lower running costs of greener vehicles.”
As well as the extension to grant schemes, the government has also announced it will continue to allow drivers holding standard car driving licences to drive electric goods vans at a higher weight limit, up to 4.25 tonnes (compared to a 3.5 tonne limit for diesel vans).
This considers the additional weight of electric vehicle batteries and makes it easier for businesses and drivers to make the switch.
Eligibility criteria for existing plug-in vehicle grants will also be recategorised from the spring with a focus on heavier vehicles.
From 1 April 2022, the threshold to claim the small truck grant of up to £16,000 will be increased from 3.5 tonnes to 4.25 tonnes. Vans up to 4.25 tonnes will be able to claim the large van grant of up to £5,000.
In response to the government’s announcement on the extension of the plug-in van grant and Category B licence derogation, and upcoming changes to the plug-in van (PiVG) and truck grant (PiTG) weight thresholds, Denise Beedell, Public Policy Manager at Logistics UK, commented:
“Given the current pressures on public finances, Logistics UK is pleased to see the government has heeded our calls to provide support to help the van sector meet net zero targets, and that the level of funding within this announcement demonstrates a clear recognition of the importance of this essential sector.”
The government’s announcement includes a decision to continue the Category B licence derogation for alternatively fuelled vehicles, which allows vans of this type with a Gross Vehicle Weight (GWV) of up to 4.25 tonnes to be driven on a standard car driving licence, compared to a 3.5 tonne limit for diesel vans, recognising the additional weight of the batteries.
Ms Beedell comments: “The derogation is seen by van operators as a vital measure to support the decarbonisation of the van fleet; it will give commercial vehicle operators confidence in investing in zero emission technology. This announcement also should encourage more training providers to offer the compulsory five-hour training course required to be fully compliant before driving using the derogation.
“Logistics UK is pleased that the Plug-in Van Grant will be extended to at least 2024/25; this certainty will help to support business planning for van operators. Although the amount of individual grants payable per van over 3.5t has reduced from £16,000 to £5,000, this reclassification within the grant thresholds means that operators purchasing alternatively fuelled vans up to 4.25t will now be eligible for up to one thousand plug-in van grants per year, instead of only 25 plug-in truck grants.”