The government’s plug-in van and truck grants will be extended for another two years to spring 2025 and changes to the existing plug-in vehicle grants will allow operators to apply for funding for larger trucks.

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.

The DfT added: “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 focussed on helping more polluting trucks to make the switch to a zero-emission future.”

In addition, drivers holding standard car driving licences will continue to be allowed 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. The licensing flexibility for 3.5 to 4.25 tonne electric goods vans also applies to other alternatively-fuelled power trains.

The move is aimed at making it easier for operators to make the switch by taking into account the additional weight of electric vehicle batteries.

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The measures are part of wider moves to decarbonise transport, reduce the UK’s reliance on foreign oil imports, improve energy supply security and lessen the UK’s exposure to volatile global energy prices, DfT added.

DfT said the government has committed £2.5bn to vehicle grants and chargepoint infrastructure to support the transition to zero emission vehicles to date, with plug-in vehicle grant schemes supporting the purchase of over 450,000 ultra-low emission vehicles across the UK – including more than 300,000 zero emission vehicles.

It added that the two-year extension is expected to support the purchase of “tens of thousands of greener vans and trucks”. In addition, it claimed that, last year, the UK had the highest number of plug-in electric vans sold in Europe, and that grant applications had risen fourfold, compared to 2020.

Existing grants have supported the purchase of more than 26,000 electric vans and 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.”