Plug-in van and truck grants have been extended for a further two years, paving the way for more businesses to make the switch to electric.
The move, which was announced by the Department for Transport, is expected to support the purchase of tens of thousands of greener vans and trucks and will help make the UK less reliant on imports of foreign oil.
Last year, industry figures 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: “When it comes to clean business, this government means business. We are backing a generation of green growth for our thriving fleet sector.
“As demand for electric vehicles continues to grow at speed, this extension to our grant scheme will allow tens of thousands more vans to be purchased, transporting goods in a way which is kinder to our environment. This will support our vital, ongoing work to clean up our air in towns and cities right across the country and build back greener.”
Grants for electric vans and trucks have helped kickstart the market, which now offers more than 30 models of electric vans and trucks which qualify for such schemes.
The government has committed £2.5 billion to vehicle grants and chargepoint infrastructure to support the transition to zero emission vehicles to date, and plug-in vehicle grant schemes have supported the purchase of over 450,000 ultra-low emission vehicles across the UK – including more than 300,000 zero emission 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 takes into account the additional weight of electric vehicle batteries and makes it easier for businesses and drivers to make the switch.
To ensure funding and taxpayers’ money goes where it’s really needed and supports the transition to zero emission vehicles, 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.
With the increasing number of large vans on the market, the move will ensure government targets support where it’s most needed, allowing for heavier and more costly trucks, up to 12 tonnes, to benefit from the higher grant funding. This change will ensure funding is focused on helping more polluting trucks to make the switch to a zero-emission future.
Commenting on the news, British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) Director of Corporate Affairs, Toby Poston said: “This good news comes at the perfect time for the fleet industry as it struggles with rising operating costs and global shortage of electric vans.
“The two-year extension on the grant will enable van operators to plan their fleet upgrades with greater confidence.
“This prolonged van grant was a key pillar of the ‘Van Plan’ that the BVRLA launched last year and we are delighted that the Government has responded to our campaign.
“The electric van market continues to lag behind the electric car market and next year was not the time to remove this vital grant.
“As the funds available to support the transition to zero emission diminish, we support the Government’s pragmatic steps to focus on sectors that need the most help in the build up to the 2030 phase-out.”