Fleet management company Arval has warned a loophole that means electric vans do not need to pass an MOT test could cause difficulties for fleets.

The firm says the absence of a test requirement – and, for vehicles over 3.5t, the need for an O Licence – for plug-in LCVs removes a key element of the maintenance structure for fleets running these vehicles.

Arval fleet CV consultant Eddie Parker said: “The legislation covering electric vans is lagging some way behind the current situation, being really designed for a time when the only common electric commercial vehicles were milk floats.

“Our view is that this loophole will, and should, be closed quite quickly by the authorities but in the meantime, it does create an operational difficulty.

“Because fleet vans are often run into three, four and five years, the MOT provides useful structure for fleets when it comes to maintaining vehicles, as well as proving they are being looked after to legal standards.”

Parker added a further complication is that electric vans are also legally viewed as wheeled items of electrical plant, and therefore affected by rules covering electrical equipment in the workplace such as The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016.

He said: “The legislation here is largely common sense but it should be kept in mind because it does constitute a further legal responsibility for fleets and may need building into relevant fleet and health and safety policies.”

Parker insisted these issues did not mean Arval was arguing against electric vans.

He said: “Our view is that pressure to reduce city centre emissions will mean adoption of electric vans by certain fleets could be quite rapid and we are very much behind this trend.

“The improvements we are seeing in the new generation of models including improved range, faster charging and bigger payloads are all very positive developments.

“However, the truth is that there is very little expertise in the fleet industry about their operation and the lack of awareness of the MOT and O Licence situation is just one example.”

Arval is to launch a new guide, Delivering the future: A guide to operating electric vans, at the upcoming CV Show that aims to provide operational guidance for fleets that are starting to run electric vehicles.