DfT set to announce the plug-in grant LCV eligibility list

Tradesmen and local businesses are eagerly awaiting the announcement expected in the near future detailing which of the electric vans will make it on the Department for Transport’s shortlist to be eligible for the subsidy they’ve extended from the domestic vehicle to now incorporate commercial vehicles, too.

In some instances, individuals and organisations may qualify for discounts of up to £8,000 to run in conjunction with the cheaper van insurance this type of van is expected to attract. And the cost savings go even further. Details in one recent report suggest that these vehicles will be exempt for company car tax, to boot.

As we reported earlier this week, last year’s rush to buy the green vehicle hardly got up to a canter with less than 1,000 punters opting to chance changing their habits and do their bit for the environment. However, it’s hoped that the discount, tax exemption, cheap van insurance and the fuel savings will be enough to tempt to the savvy business owner into finally making that change.  If those savings fail to sway the market, well, what else can be done?

Justine Greening is doing her best as Transport Secretary to get the industry sector on side promoting the range in anticipation of the DfT announcement. According to her calculations, fuel savings could amount to £100 for every 1,000 miles put on the clock compared to other fuel types for light commercial vehicles.

There is still reasonable doubt in the market place about topping up whilst out on the road, due to two issues concerning the battery. Details from manufacturers suggest that electric vans will push 100 miles on one charge, depending upon the load and how the van’s driven – if these are at the top end of the tolerances, the maximum on one charge could be limited to 60 miles, but that should still be plenty for the average round, especially enough for the city.

The other issue is that anyone buying the new electric van will never own the battery, if the planned lease/sale pattern is to filtrate the market as is foreseen. Yes, it’s great that the manufacturer retains ownership of it, both for worrying about the maintenance and the possibility of cheaper van insurance due to the fact that the broker may not need to insure that component against breakdown, but what if it conks out whilst you’re mid-run? It’s not as if you can call the AA to replace it. How quickly will the manufacturer get a replacement battery out to you?

Electric vans – and plug-in transport all round – is probably the future of motoring but with so many question marks still hanging over the range, it’s no wonder that businesses have had reservations about taking the plunge, thus far.

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