BVRLA warning for transition to electric vehicles

Jul 11 | 2023

In response to a recent announcement from the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV), the BVRLA (British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association), a trade organisation for those involved in vehicle leasing, has reemphasised the challenges being faced by van operators in their transition to zero emission.

The Association has also outlined the support required to enable the transition and ensure that net zero targets can be met.

In May, the OZEV increased the end-user limit for Plug-in Van Grant (PiVG) applications by 50%, from 1,000 to 1,500 per financial year, with immediate effect and until further notice. Commenting on the announcement, Gerry Keaney, BVRLA Chief Executive said that van fleets are struggling to make the zero-emission transition and the 2030 Phase Out target for internal combustion engine vehicles is at serious risk. Fleet-friendly public charging infrastructure is scarce and operators are struggling to find electric vehicles that can match their diesel counterparts when it comes to cost of ownership, payload or range. 

He said that the recent Plug-in Van Grant extension, announced by the Westminster government, will be welcomed by the largest fleet operators. “The grant is a vital tool in bringing more electric LCVs to UK roads, but it is not a silver bullet,” he said. “The Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate that comes into force next year will encourage manufacturers to produce more affordable and capable electric vans. In the meantime, we need to see a huge effort in rolling out a more affordable, reliable and accessible van fleet-friendly charging infrastructure. We need a new Electric Van Plan.”

In an article published by the SMMT (Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders), Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) which represents commercial retailers across the UK, is quoted as saying, “Although the OZEV announcement is a “move in the right direction”, NFDA is concerned that a great deal more could be done to promote and incentivise the transition to electric.”

She added: “An order limit extension to 1,500 is positive for the commercial and van industry as it sends the right message to retailers that the government wants more zero-emissions vehicles to be sold and that they are willing to support this with financial incentives, with some vans being sold at a 35% discount. There is still a deeper-rooted issue with the UK’s charging infrastructure network and this remains a key barrier to entry for many that have concerns on this issue.”