The SMMT is lobbying the Department for Transport on behalf of van makers to raise the threshold at which drivers require an ‘O’ licence to operate an electric van to 4.25-tonnes.
Currently a specialist licence is needed to drive any vehicle weighing more than 3.5-tonnes but operators argue that due to the weight of the battery on an EV, this eats into the payload and thus makes the van less effective as a workhorse.
Nigel Base, the SMMT’s CV boss, told What Van?: “The SMMT has put it to the DfT and the response was favourable. We need a derogation from the EU but this shouldn’t be a problem as the law is already in Germany.”
Stuart Webster, managing director of Iveco UK, which markets an electric version of its large Daily van, said electric vans could be viable up to 5.0-tonnes but added: “The upfront cost of an EV is far more, the total cost of ownership may be lower but it’s a leap of faith for operators.”
He also called for more structural investment in a refueling network for EVs.