DfT considers changes to driver licensing for EVs

Amidst the UK government’s plans to make it easier to have electric vehicles (EVs) on the roads, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced changes to driver licensing rules that will “make it easier for van drivers to switch to electric vehicles”.

The DfT has said that van drivers will be able to drive heavier EV or gas powered vehicles without having to apply for a new license. This comes after signals from the government that it is looking at allowing heavier EV vans to drive on UK roads. They need to be heavier in order to carry the batteries to get them the range that they would have to do on a typical delivery run, batteries being less energy dense than diesel. One would therefore be allowed to drive a 3500kg diesel or a 4250kg EV for example.

According to the DfT: “Currently, a motorist with an ordinary category B licence for a car can drive a van weighing up to 3,500kg. Cleaner vans, especially those powered by electricity from batteries, are generally heavier than conventional diesel vans because of the battery they carry. This reduces the amount of goods they can carry or means van drivers have to apply for a category C licence with the associated costs and medical report requirements.

“Now the Department for Transport has published plans to allow motorists to drive vans weighing up to 4,250kg if they are powered by electricity, natural gas, LPG or hydrogen.”

A public consultation has been launched and is set to close in 12 weeks time.

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