DfT – Van drivers can drive heavier electric vans

To help roll out the electric delivery van fleet nationwide, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that drivers with Category B driving licenses will be able to operate alternative fuelled vans with a gross weight of up to 4.25 tonnes. They will have to undergo five hours of additional training however.

Added battery weight reduces cargo capacity if the gross weight was limited, so the DfT has been looking at ways of getting battery electric vans with a similar capacity to diesel and petrol vans on the road without asking too much of van drivers, who may otherwise have had to get a license for a big truck to drive them.

The concession has been welcomed by the Freight Transport Association. James Firth, head of road freight regulation, said: “Our members are committed to transitioning to low or zero emission vehicles, but with their propulsion systems and fuels far heavier than those of petrol and diesel, operators were left in a difficult position.  They were forced to either lose payload or use heavier vehicles, which incur the expense of tighter regulatory regimes in relation to driver and operator licensing.  These limitations were preventing operators from investing in green vehicle technology; they were a clear barrier to the adoption of low and zero emission vans.”

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