The UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) has announced an extension of its plug-in van and truck grants for a further two years, as it works to encourage the switch to electric.
The move is expected to support the purchase of tens of thousands of greener vans and trucks. It also aims to make the UK less reliant on imports of foreign oil, improving the security of the energy supply and reducing the UK’s vulnerability to global energy prices.
Last year, industry figures showed the UK had the highest number of plug-in electric vans sold in Europe and there were around four 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 across the UK since the programme launched in 2012.
With nearly 5% of the UK’s CO2 emissions currently coming from vans, the DfT said the switch to greener vehicles is essential to support the government’s climate change and air quality commitments.
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.”
As well as the extension to grant schemes, the DfT 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 EV batteries and makes it easier for businesses and drivers to make the switch.
From 01 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.