On Tuesday 10 October 2023, Government issued its outcome to its ‘Driving licence flexibility for alternatively-fuelled vehicles’ consultation.

“It is positive to see the Department for Transport take on board the views of National Franchised Dealer Association (NFDA) from our consultation response submitted in August 2022, when coming to a decision for driving licence regulations for zero emission trucks and vans. Adapting current regulation to enhance the uptake and accessibility of zero emission vans is an important step towards the sector reaching net-zero targets,” said Steve Latham, Head of NFDA’s Commercial Vehicle division which represents commercial retailers across the UK.

The Government’s consultation was designed to further support the transition of the heavy alternative fuelled vehicle market to zero emissions and to acknowledge the support needed by these vehicles given their additional weight requirements. The electric van market share is still struggling to gain traction within the industry with the BEV market share only increasing 2% (4.4% - 6.4%) between September 2022 and 2023. Significant headwinds still remain within the E-van sector, with range limitations, higher initial costs and charging infrastructure concerns still persisting.

The three key areas that NFDA highlighted in the consultation response, and now implemented by Government:

Removing additional training requirement - Drivers should be able to adopt a zero-emission van with as much ease as a petrol or diesel equivalent. “We will remove the 5-hour training requirement”.

Types of vehicles eligible for the flexibility - Other ZEVs, beyond goods vans, should continue to be supported in their switch to zero emissions. “We will expand the flexibility to all vehicle types”.

Towing allowances - ZEVs should be subject to the same towing rules as equivalent internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. “We will legislate to allow ZEVs operating under the licence flexibility to tow a vehicle and trailer combination up to 7,000kg MAM. This will be under the same conditions as equivalent ICE vehicles and will reflect recent changes to B+E licence entitlements”.

Steve Latham added: “While NFDA welcomes the government's response to industry feedback in eliminating aspects of previous regulations that discouraged the adoption of heavier electric vans, there are still outdated rules regarding tachograph usage if the vehicle travels more than 62 miles from its base and obligatory yearly HGV testing at ATFs for these vehicle types. The NFDA is committed to conveying dealers’ concerns directly to government on the topic of inhibiting electric van regulation.”