Fleet sector representatives have welcomed the range of electric vehicle grants and tax incentives announced by the chancellor in today’s budget.

The chancellor announced £532m to maintain the Plug-In Car and Van Grants until March 2023 and said he would be freezing company car tax rates between 2023 and 2025.

All zero-emission vehicles will also be exempt from the VED ‘expensive car supplement’ until 2025.

The chancellor also pledged £500m for rapid charging infrastructure, including a new fund to support connections to the electricity grid and eliminated the Van Benefit Charge for zero-emission vans from 2021.

BVRLA, the trade body for the vehicle rental, leasing and fleet industry, said that the measures announced in today’s Budget would provide a major boost for those looking to speed-up the transition to zero-emission transport.

‘Today’s Budget shows that the Government is listening and is ready to support those that are ambitious enough to embrace its decarbonisation targets,’ said BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney.

The Government has also announced a raft of other measures to support cleaner, safer and more affordable road transport, including a fuel duty freeze, an extra £304m to support local authority air quality measures and £29.5bn for roads and pothole repair.

It will also launch two major new reviews - a call for evidence on how VED can be used to support uptake of zero and ultra-low emission vehicles and an electric vehicle charging infrastructure review.

‘Tackling road transport emissions and improving air quality is top of the agenda for Government, industry and society,’ said Mr Keaney.

‘The Plug in Car Grant and VED measures outlined today will play a massive role in making EVs more affordable for thousands upon thousands of businesses and drivers across the UK.

‘Having a roadmap for the future of Company Car Tax up to 2025 removes the uncertainty that we know stifles business decisions.’

Commenting on the Budget, Chris Russell, CEO and co-founder of Tonik Energy, said: ‘Clarity on the benefit-in-kind (BiK) rates marks a new era of driving. After months of uncertainty, the chancellor has given fleet managers and company car users confidence to accelerate investment into electric vehicles and green strategies.

‘With first year allowances now only available for businesses buying ZEVs, and zero-emission company van drivers set to benefit from a nil rate of tax from April 2021, the government has initiated a big change which will undoubtedly have a rapid impact on business fleets.

‘It is encouraging to hear that ZEVs will be exempt from the Vehicle Exercise Duty expensive car supplement, which up until now will have deterred consumers from committing to greener vehicles which often retail above £40,000. The investment into the Plug-in Car Grant, Plug-in Van Grant, and Plug-In Motorcycle Grant is also a clear sign that the government is committed to the UK’s green future.

‘The combination of these initiatives has resulted in a Budget that has brought us closer to the UK’s Net Zero target. It is now time for the government to turn its attention to fast and convenient access to power which will be paramount for ZEV drivers. Whilst the Chancellor’s announcement that £500m will be invested to support the rollout of rapid charging hubs is, of course, a step in the right direction, we are yet to see the government acknowledge that renewable energies are the linchpin to this change.’