Iveco’s Alternative Fuels director Martin Flach has welcomed the Department for Transport’s announcement that it intends to seek a derogation from the European Parliament to allow category B driving licence holders to drive electric vans weighing up to 4.25-tonnes, but has called for the change to be rubber stamped as soon as possible.
Currently the licence allows holders to drive vehicles of up to 3.5-tonnes, but raising the limit for plug-in vans would enable an increase in payload to compensate for the loss in load carrying capacity caused by the weight of the battery.
Flach believes the current payload penalty represents a major stumbling block to operators’ adoption of large electric vans, in particular the Iveco Daily Electric.
He claims the upfront purchasing price of electric vans is also prohibitive to customers and urged the government to introduce further incentives on top of the Plug-in Van Grant, which offers a reduction of 20% on the list price – but only extends to £8,000 on vans of up to 3.5-tonnes. A 3.5-tonne Electric Daily with a single battery costs £60,000.
“We’ve got to get the price of electric vans down,” said Flach and described a “vicious circle” of high prices resulting in low sales and low sales in turn keeping prices high.
“We need more financial incentives,” Flach insisted.
He said a further problem hindering the take-up of large electric vans in urban environments is that the majority of charging points in cities are too small for them, having been designed for passenger cars and small vans and called for more investment in the charging infrastructure to make the use of larger plug-in vans viable.