Last month, the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) increased the end-user limit for Plug-in Van Grant (PiVG) applications by 50%, from 1,000 to 1,500 per financial year, with immediate effect and until further notice.
According to OZEV, the new limit has been introduced in response to “market conditions” and will be kept under continual review. If demands exceed projections, the previous order limit of 1,000 or an alternative limit per financial year could be introduced without notice.
It is hoped to enable a wider pool of operators and those managing larger fleets to invest in the latest, greenest vehicle technology, with some all-electric van models currently available in the UK.
The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) said the change reflects the challenges being faced by van operators in their transition to zero emission solutions, in particular the lack of public chargepoints, with action needed to encourage further uptake.
“Van fleets are struggling to make the zero emission transition and the 2030 phase out target for internal combustion engine vehicles is at serious risk,” said Gerry Keaney, BVRLA Chief Executive.
“Fleet-friendly public charging infrastructure is scarce and operators are struggling to find electric vehicles that can match their diesel counterparts when it comes to cost of ownership, payload or range.
“Government is listening and the PiVG extension will be welcomed by the largest fleet operators.”
Keaney added that the grant is a vital tool to bring more electric vans to UK roads but “is not a silver bullet”.
“The BVRLA continues to campaign on this topic and is in regular contact with OZEV and other bodies to share the concerns of van operators and drivers.”
The plug-in van grant (PIVG) was launched in 2012 to help bridge the price gap between the cost of ultra-low emission vans and diesel vans. It was extended to HGVs in 2016.
Existing grants have supported the purchase of more than 26,000 electric vans and trucks across the UK since its launch.
The level of the plug-in van grant for small vans weighing 2.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight or less currently stands at a maximum of £2,500.
To be eligible, the vehicle must also have CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km and be able to travel at least 60 miles without any emissions.
Available vehicles include models from Citroën, Fiat, Maxus, Nextem, Nissan, Peugeot, Renault, Toyota and Vauxhall.
For larger vans the grant is currently £5,000 available on eligible vehicles and with the discount included by the seller in the purchase price.
To qualify for a grant, the vehicle must be between 2,500kg and 4,250kg gross vehicle weight, have CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km, and be able to travel at least 60 miles without any emissions.
These include vehicles from Citroën e-Dispatch, DFSK, Fiat, Ford, LEVC, MAN, Maxus, Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot, Renault, Vauxhall and Volkswagen.
Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) which represents commercial retailers across the UK said that while the OZEV announcement is a “move in the right direction”, NFDA is concerned that a great deal more could be done to promote and incentivise the transition to electric.
She added: “An order limit extension to 1500 is positive for the commercial and van industry as it sends the right message to retailers that the Government wants more zero-emissions vehicles to be sold and that they are willing to support this with financial incentives, with some vans being sold at a 35% discount.
“There is still a deeper-rooted issue with the UK’s charging infrastructure network, and this remains a key barrier to entry for many that have concerns on this issue.
“The Government needs to match the efforts and investments retailers have made in preparing their showrooms, stock and staff for the 2030 deadline.”
The latest SMMT data on new van registrations shows that battery electric van (BEV) uptake rose in April, up 62.6% to 1,494 units, giving a market share of 6.6%.
Some trucks can be sold at a 20% discount using the truck grant and a vehicle dealership or manufacturer can apply for a grant using the online portal.
The maximum discount available for small trucks is £16,000 and to be eligible for a grant, the vehicle must be between 4,250kg and 12,000kg gross weight.
It must also have CO2 emissions of at least 50% less than the equivalent conventional Euro-6 vehicle that can carry the same capacity and be able to travel at least 60 miles without any emissions.
The eligible vehicles are the FUSO eCanter, Paneltex Z75 and Tevva’s 7.5-tonne battery electric truck added to the list earlier this year.
Tevva’s truck offers up to 140 miles from its 105-kWh battery on a single charge, and is designed for last-mile and urban delivery fleets.
The manufacturer says that due to the scheme its customers can benefit from the potential £16,000 discount.
Asher Bennett, Tevva Founder and CEO, said: “We know first-hand that demand for electric trucks is growing at speed, as we have been inundated with requests for our 7.5t battery-electric truck since going into full production in February.
“Now we are able to offer UK organisations a noticeable discount, thanks to the government grant, which will surely make zero emission trucking even more appealing to fleets.”
For large trucks, the maximum discount available is £25,000 and to be eligible for a grant, the vehicle must be heavier than 12,000kg.
It should also have CO2 emissions of at least 50% less than the equivalent conventional Euro-6 vehicle that can carry the same capacity, as well as be able to travel at least 60 miles without any emissions.
Manufacturers who produce vehicles on the list include Electra, DAF, Dennis Eagle. Renault Trucks and Volvo.