The Department for Transport has confirmed the
first seven vans eligible for the plug-in grant to encourage uptake
of electric vehicles (EVs).

reported previously in Motor Finance
, models of van
qualifying the grant will be subsidised up to £8,000 or 20% of
value, a move welcomed by manufacturers and trade bodies.

In order to qualify for the grant, vans must
weigh less than 3.5 tonnes, emit no more than 75g of CO2 per
kilometre, be capable of travelling over 60 miles between charging,
and have a minimum top speed of 50mph.

The seven vans which meet the criteria are:
Ford Transit Connect Electric, Mercedes-Benz Vito E-Cell, Renault
Kangoo ZE and Smith Edison, all available now; Faam Ecomile and
Faam Jolly 2000, both available in March; and Mia U, available in

The selection of the Kangoo ZE should help
Renault UK, which has
put great stock in the supply and aftersales of its ZE range in the
, with sister brand Nissan also trialling the NV200 prototype
EV in this country, following its restructure announced in

Funding for the grant has been secured until
2015 and is part of £400m earmarked by the coalition government to
promote low-emission technology.

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By GlobalData

As such, Mark Prisk, business minister, was
keen to emphasise its importance: “Vans are essential to the smooth
running of so many businesses and contribute enormously to the UK
economy. An upfront purchase grant, when combined with lower
running costs and tax benefits, can make switching to an ultra low
carbon van an attractive choice for those businesses.”

Paul Everitt, chief executive of The Society
of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which lobbied for the grant,
echoed Prisk’s comments, adding the grant was “excellent news for
van drivers, operators, businesses and the industry.”