THE Government has promised to incentivise the take up of electric vans.

Publishing its ‘Road to Zero‘ document, the Government says that is going to consult on reform of Vehicle Excise Duty to encourage van drivers to make the
cleanest choices when purchasing a new van.

The current VED charges currently penalise cleaner Euro 6 vans rather than the more polluting older vans. Electric vans, however, are rated at £0.

The Government also confirmed that it would continue to offer the plug-in van grant until at least 2020. However, these incentives may not be as generous. Current rates will be maintained until at least October 2018.

40% of van market should be ultra-low emitting vehicles (ULEVs) by 2030

However, industry body SMMT were critical of the Government’s ambitions to make 40% of the van market ULEVs by 2030, calling it ‘hugely challenging’.

Nigel Base, SMMT Commercial Vehicle Development Manager, said;

“We are concerned about targets for ULEV penetration that go far beyond the high levels of expectation proposed by the European Commission for vans. Achieving 40% market share would require a nearly 144-fold increase in uptake from the current position of just 0.3%.”

“Vans are business tools and drivers are typically far more sensitive to purchase price and return on investment than car buyers, while current electric van technology, which involves large batteries, can mean reduced carrying capacity.

“In addition, there is currently no bespoke charging network for these vehicles, which require larger parking bays, longer charging times and charge point locations that will fit seamlessly into their day-to-day business operations.”

Nevertheless, for many trades with under 25 mile journeys each day, an electric van could make great sense and dramatically reduce their operating costs.

Electricity is much cheaper than diesel – at about 2p per mile. And with fewer moving parts, maintenance costs are substantially lower.