A Zero Emission Van Plan has been created, with input from brokers, calling for greater fiscal support, improved charging and the removal of regulatory barriers. 

The Van Plan, which launched at the Houses of Parliament last week, has been created as a response to growing concerns raised by BVRLA members. 

To meet the 70% Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate target for vans by 2030 operators need critical support now, the industry body says. 

It says a “giant leap” is needed to move the market from 5.9% of new electric van (e-van) sales in 2023 to where it needs to be, and without immediate support the transition will continue to stall or even grind to a halt, making the targets in later years  near impossible to reach.

“Vans are the backbone of our economy, providing an essential form of transport and a mobile workspace. They are growing in number every year and account for a major portion of the miles driven up and down the country. If the UK is to meet its road decarbonisation targets, zero-emission vans must take centre stage. They are a vital player in the transition and command more attention.”

Recommended steps for the Government

The BVRLA sought input from its leasing broker members, which was fed back to a coalition consisting of Logistics UK, Recharge UK, The Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) and the EV Café, and helped to form the dedicated ‘asks’, which underpin the plan. 

The recommended steps for the Government are: 

  • Increased fiscal support – grants to make new and used e-vans affordable; extend the Plug-in Grant post 2024/2025; and financial support for SMEs to purchase used electric vans.
  • Improve charging – regulatory and fiscal support for accessible, affordable and fit for purpose chargepoints; use the Public Charge Point Regulations 2023 to ensure public charging works for e-vans; launch a new fund to support fleets upgrading their grid connection; and produce guidance to help fleets navigate the grid connection process.
  • Remove regulatory barriers – full alignment of 4.25 tonne ZEVs with diesel vans; 4.25t ZEV vans should be MOT’d as a van not an HGV and not subject to EU drivers’ hours rules. 

Cost disparity is still a ‘big barrier’

The financial support for SMEs was a fairly universal ask, including but not limited to leasing brokers, according to Thomas McLennan, Head of Policy and Public Affairs.

“The cost disparity between ICE (internal combustion engine) and EV (electric vehicle)  is still a big barrier, with SMEs often more sensitive to cost, while also being more reliant on their vehicle for their livelihood. Many SMEs have always relied on the used market, which is why it is important to consider support there as well as on new vehicles,” he said. 

“We are engaging with policymakers to design a grant system that will unlock zero-emission vans for SMEs. There is no single one-size-fits-all solution so there are a number of routes that should be explored to find effective outcomes.”

Next steps

Now the Van Plan has launched and is available to all, the coalition’s engagement with all operators, industry stakeholders and decision makers will “ramp up”, Thomas added. This includes other trade bodies and manufacturers.

Brokers are being urged to read the plan and share it with their local MP to help raise awareness across all political parties and decision makers. 

There is a quick, easy-to-use tool to do this via the Van Plan campaign page. 

Tulip Siddiq MP supporting van plan
Tulip Siddiq MP - supporting the Zero Emission Van Plan
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