It has been announced that UK businesses will continue to save money and reduce their carbon footprint as the government ultra-low emission plug-in van grant will be extended.
Transport Minister, Baroness Kramer, confirmed that the grant, which was originally launched in 2012 and provides buyers with a 20% discount off the cost up to £8,000, would be extended to meet the continued demand.
In addition to lower running costs, the scheme also allows UK businesses that buy the efficient vans to take advantage of a range of tax incentives which include zero vehicle excise duty and no congestion charges in London.
Baroness Kramer said ‘Ultra-low emission vans are cheaper to run and with a variety of models now eligible for the grant, there has never been a better time for business to take advantage. The government is supporting UK companies that are leading the way on cleaner and greener transport.’
Since 2012 the initiative has supported over 1,250 vans, with vehicle running costs potentially as low as 2 pence a mile.
Gnewt Cargo is one company which has benefitted from the plug-in van grant and it now has the largest 100% commercial electric fleet in the country.
Co-founder and CEO Sam Clarke, said ‘As a business we have grown significantly over the last few years in London and are expanding nationally in 2015. Our fleet of over 100 plug-in vans are economical to run and also help improve air quality in the capital.
The plug-in van grant is a great way to encourage other fleets to take this same step. We are therefore delighted to hear that support for electric commercial fleets is set to continue.’
Today’s funding extension for vans was announced alongside an additional £4 million to support the early deployment of publicly accessible gas refueling points for HGVs across the UK.
The investment would give companies who use gas-powered lorries the flexibility to refuel en route, rather than having to plan their journeys between refueling stations.
Baroness Kramer continued ‘this investment will make it even easier for British businesses to increase their uptake of cleaner gas powered HGVs. It will not just improve local air quality, but benefit those who develop and manufacture this technology and reinforces our commitment to the UK automotive industry.’
The FTA have commented that the £4million funding is good news for the road haulage industry.
Rachael Dillon, the FTA’s Climate Change Policy Manager has said “Gas offers a viable way for operators to switch to alternative fuels to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality especially on long trunking journeys where electric and hybrid technology is impractical. Currently, there are limited number of public refuelling stations for operators to refuel gas HGVs. This is one of the major factors preventing the market from taking off. “
FTA put forward a submission to the Governments Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) in early 2014 calling for financial support for the haulage sector to help invest in alternative fuels and technologies that will reduce carbon emissions and help improve air quality.
The FTA has said that an increase in gas refueling stations will enable HGV operators without their own refueling facilities to use gas vehicles and allow those who tend to refuel at base to operate more efficiently and cover larger trip distances.
The FTA stated that a commitment from Government for funding will also give HGV operators reassurance to invest and makes a stronger case for dual fuel gas or dedicated gas vehicles which are significantly more expensive than conventional diesel.
Ms Dillon added “We look forward to working with OLEV as the funding project progresses. Naturally, we would also like to see a larger proportion of funding for ultra-low emission vehicles for freight to enable the sector to reduce emissions, given its vital role in delivering the goods for our economy and look forward to further announcements.”
The government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles will work with Innovate UK and the freight sector to identify areas where demand for infrastructure is highest. Gas retailers and other interested parties will be encouraged to bid for a share of the funding. The winners will be announced next year.
More information about the range of plug-in vans and other electric vehicles currently on the market is available at GoUltraLow.com.