Anyone who buys a large electric van after October 1 is not allowed to drive it if the vehicle weight and maximum load together exceed 3,500 kilos. The exemption is expiring, and nothing has been arranged for those who already have such a heavy bus.
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They are quiet, clean and heavy. Electric vans are the future for urban transport, but due to the battery pack they are also easily 400 kilos heavier than the petrol variant. And the legislation is tailored to that. A temporary arrangement that allows you to drive electric vans up to a maximum of 4,250 kilos with a driving license B will expire on Sunday.
Truck driver’s license
Thijs Bochane from dealer group Bochane sighs deeply. “I have dozens of customers who will receive their van after October 1, and I have to tell them that they must first get their truck driver’s license. Anyone who already has a heavy electric van can drive it until the end of this year and after that no more. Then the police enforcement. So customers have to put people with a truck driver’s license on that van, but that will of course never work.”
There are now more than 20,000 fully electric vans in the Netherlands. The majority remain under 3,500 kilos, but the larger ones with a large battery pack for a large range run into problems.
At Bochane, for example, the largest versions of the electric Renault Master exceed 3.5 tons. “What will happen is that entrepreneurs will again buy a traditional diesel in which you can drive with a driving license B. This way we will not reduce CO2 emissions. And on January 1, 2025, cities will introduce emission-free zones. That will be a problem, also for people in construction who have to work in inner cities.”
Drivers who have to obtain a truck driving licence, the so-called driving license C, can easily spend a few days and around 2,500 euros. Bochane: “Companies are now hiring people with a B driver’s license who also let them drive the bus occasionally. They do some courier rides in addition to their studies, but not all of them will get their C driver’s license.”
Legislative change in the making
A change in the law is in the works that will allow you to drive an electric van up to 4,250 kilos with a regular driving license B, but BOVAG fears that this could take another year due to the fall of the cabinet. The car industry organization advocates extending the temporary measure until the new legislation is in place.
BOVAG believes that greening the fleet would otherwise be the end result. “This means that leaders who opt for an electric van, whether or not motivated by the upcoming zero-emission zones in cities, will either have to have their people obtain an expensive extra driver’s license, or they will think twice before buying an electric van.” , says spokesperson Paul de Waal. He points out that this also applies to hydrogen delivery buses, which are coming.
‘Everyone will soon order a diesel’
Loek Vroon, director at commercial vehicle brand Iveco, expects sales of e-vans to suffer from the rules. “This will certainly have an effect. Companies, but also gardeners, for example, are now not going electric because of the driver’s license requirement. In addition, the BPM exemption for petrol or diesel company vans will expire as of January 1, 2025. So Everyone will soon order a diesel. You can drive it with a driving license B.”
The extra tax on vans with a fuel engine makes them about 11,000 euros more expensive than now. The cleanest versions may also enter the emission-free zones of cities for a few years during a transition period.
BOVAG believes that the central government has made mistakes. De Waal: “Very bad. The government could have seen this coming. We have also pointed this out several times. This puts a brake on sustainability, penalizes sustainable buyers and sellers and saddles the market with paralyzing uncertainty. Dealers cannot do this to explain.”