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Lobby builds to end the MOT exemption for electric vans

Outdated legislation which exempts electric vans from the need for MOT tests needs to change, according to operators.

Fleet management company Arval believes as pressures to reduce city centre emissions increase, the adoption of electric vans by certain fleets could be quite rapid, and the MOT test should be a key element of the maintenance schedule for such vehicles.

Currently, electric vans are exempt from MOT tests and O Licence requirements due to historic legislation from the era of milk floats.

Eddie Parker, fleet commercial vehicle consultant at Arval, said: “The legislation covering electric vans is lagging some way behind the current situation.

“Our view is that this loophole will, and should, be closed quite quickly by the authorities but in the meantime, it does create an operational difficulty. Because fleet vans are often run into three, four and five years, the MOT provides useful structure for fleets when it comes to maintaining vehicles, as well as proving that they are being looked after to legal standards.”

The fleet management company says that the absence of a test - and, for those weighing more than 3.5 tonnes GVW, no O Licence either - removes a key element of the maintenance structure for fleets running these vehicles.

Electric vans are legally viewed as wheeled items of electrical plant and therefore affected by rules covering electrical equipment in the workplace such as The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016. 

“The legislation here is largely common sense but it should be kept in mind because it does constitute a further legal responsibility for fleets and may need building into relevant fleet and health and safety policies,” added Parker.

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