The government has extended its electric vehicle grant scheme with £4 million available for larger electric vans and trucks, while unveiling a wider plan to boost charging infrastructure.
The £4 million will provide grants of up to £20,000 for businesses investing in electric trucks above 3.5 tonnes in weight.
The grant amount will be automatically deducted from the price of the vehicle by the dealer when it is purchased.
The new funding supplements the existing Plug-In Van grant scheme, which provides grants for smaller electric vans.
It is hoped that the funding will stimulate demand for more electric vans and trucks, with limited uptake to date.
Greg Clark, business and energy secretary, said: “The electric car revolution is well underway with consumers and this funding will encourage more businesses to consider switching to cleaner vans and trucks.
“Our automotive sector is thriving with the world’s most popular electric car already made in the UK and we are forging ahead to deploy new engine technology to make low-carbon vehicles mainstream, and leading the way in driverless car technology.”
As well as helping to reduce the running costs of fleets, electric vans and trucks provide significant air quality benefits, especially in urban areas where air pollution from diesel-powered vehicles is most severe.
Rachael Dillon, climate change policy manager at the Freight Transport Association (FTA), commented: “Freight operators need support as much as other vehicle users to adopt greener fuels and technologies in order to reduce carbon [emissions] and contribute to improved air quality.
“The cost of an electric vehicle can be prohibitive so any financial support that the government can give may allow operators to make the business case to invest.”
The government has also launched a four-week public consultation on plans to make electric vehicle chargepoints more accessible.
The announcement comes shortly after a £35 million fund was unveiled to expand the UK’s charging network, with funding available for both workplaces and homeowners.
There are already more than 11,000 public chargepoints across the UK, and carmaker Nissan has estimated that they will outnumber petrol stations by 2020.
For more information on the support available for switching to electric vehicles, visit the government’s Go Ultra Low website.