Features & Interviews

Five minutes with Gerry Keaney, BVRLA Chief Executive

10 February 2022 #Features & Interviews

What is the BVRLA’s response to the government’s decision in December to cut the plug-in grants for electric vans?
Financial incentives such as the Plug-in Grant have proven to be a positive factor in encouraging people into electric vehicles, but the disparity between electric cars and vans means sweeping solutions are not suitable. For vans, there is still more to be done and it is disappointing to see support declining when cost remains a crucial stumbling block.

There remain many barriers that are slowing down the mass transition to electric vans. Cutting the grant increases those challenges and will delay the uptake of electric vans. This is particularly the case for SMEs, where the lack of price parity between ICE vehicles and electric alternatives makes it hard to create a realistic business case for making the switch.

For the move towards electric vans to gain momentum, more support and incentives are essential. Now is not the time to remove or reduce them, so we have called on the government to provide more support, specifically for commercial vehicles.

Does the government need a plan with regards to the phase-out of non-zero emission HGVs between 2035 and 2040?
While we welcomed the announcements made during COP26 that acknowledged the need to stagger the phase out, the corresponding roadmap needs to be published in order to make the 2040 target feasible.

Use cases of HGVs vary significantly, so it is important that a delivery plan is created that enables a clear, affordable and achievable transition to zero-emission HGVs. That plan should consider the role of low-carbon fuels, as well as the funding required for further research and vehicle trials, to ensure suitable vehicles and infrastructure provisions are rolled out in line with end-user needs.

The approach must be comprehensive and involve collaboration across all parties, as the barriers remain immense, and we look forward to working with government to ensure the UK road transport network can be decarbonised successfully.

Tell us about the BVRLA’s new fair wear and tear guide for LCVs?
Launched last summer, the updated Fair Wear & Tear Guide for LCVs is more closely aligned to the standard for commercial vehicles, reflecting the heavier use that vans are now subject to. Changes include the removal of minibuses, covered by the CV guide, and limits on the number of dents and scratches within tolerance sizes. It has also increased the tolerance for scratches and brought glass standards in line with MOT standards.

Our Fair Wear & Tear guides can be co-branded and are available to members via our website in digital and print formats. They give a consistent standard for members to follow and support them in communicating acceptable parameters to their customers. This ensures expectations can be managed and issues more easily resolved.

How important is SMMT membership to the BVRLA?
We have had a reciprocal membership with SMMT for many years and have several mutual members. It is important to us that we work in collaboration with other trade associations, allowing us to better represent the needs of our collective memberships and enact positive changes for the industry.

The BVRLA and SMMT work together on an increasing number of workstreams, particularly around charging infrastructure and automated vehicles, where our members will be among those driving the industry forward.

Gerry Keaney, BVRLA Chief Executive

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