Iveco has welcomed the Government consultation to extend the gross vehicle weight (GVW) allowance for alternative fuel light commercial vehicles (LCVs) which can be driven by standard Category B licence holders from 3.5 tonnes to 4.25 tonnes.
Current UK legislation states that a driver needs a C1 category licence to drive a vehicle with a GVW of more than 3.5 tonnes.
The proposal is to increase that by 0.75 tonnes, so drivers with a Category B licence can operate alternative fuel LCVs up to 4.25 tonnes, without needing to complete additional training, sit a new licence test and undergo medical examinations. This is in line with the current 3.5t GVW plus 750kg trailer allowed with a category B licence.
The additional weight allowance will effectively offset the increased weight of the powertrain on natural gas and electric vehicles, meaning they can carry at least the same weight of goods as conventional 3.5 tonne diesel vehicles.
Martin Flach, Iveco’s alternative fuels director, said: “Increasingly, customers are looking seriously at low-emission LCVs but at 3.5 tonnes vehicles are usually critical on payload and it has resulted in a much lower take-up of vehicles than we would have liked.
“It’s always seemed nonsensical that companies keen to implement innovative technology that is better for the environment should be penalised on payload and have to pay for additional driver training.
“As a key alternative fuels vehicle manufacturer that truly believes in sustainable transport, Iveco has been campaigning on this issue for several years so we’re delighted with the proposal that has been made.”
He added: “If the plan is accepted, we firmly believe it would quickly boost the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles and consequently improve air quality.
"The vehicles are available, we just need the government to ensure businesses are being given the opportunity to make the most of them.”
The consultation is open until October 18, 2017.