UK businesses can now apply for grants up to £20,000 when switching their large trucks to electric vehicles, it has been announced.
The Plug-In Van Grant has been available to small commercial vehicles of up to 3.5 tonnes since 2012, but sales of new electric trucks have remained limited.
Electric trucks and vans have significant air quality benefits, as they spend much of their time in towns and city centres and more than 96% of them are diesel-powered.
The government is now committing an additional £4m to the scheme so that all vans and trucks meeting the necessary requirements are eligible as part of the drive to reduce carbon emissions from transport use.
Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark made the announcement during a three-day visit to Japan where he is meeting Japanese automotive companies.
He explained: “The electric car revolution is well underway with consumers and this funding will encourage more businesses to consider switching to cleaner vans and trucks.
“Our automotive sector is thriving with the world’s most popular electric car already made in the UK and we are forging ahead to deploy new engine technology to make low-carbon vehicles mainstream, and leading the way in driverless car technology.
“The Government and industry continue to work together to support the UK’s world class automotive industry to ensure we continue to be the number one place in the world to develop and manufacture cars.”
The Office for Low Emission Vehicles, a joint unit of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Transport, believes extending the scheme will stimulate demand for more electric vans and trucks, and consequently encourage new entrants into the electric van market.
The government and industry continue to work together to support the UK’s world class automotive industry, including on the Advanced Propulsion Centre, which has invested £1bn to develop low carbon technologies.
The government has also invested £100m in connected and autonomous vehicles, alongside drawing up a long-term plan to support he adoption of electric vehicles through the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.