Dutch minister does not resolve driver’s license issue for heavy e-LCVs

Drivers of heavier electric vans will still need a truck driving license from July 1, 2024. Outgoing Minister Harbers of Dutch IenW announced this. For them, there is now an exception or tolerance.

The heavier vans are not trucks but fall into that category regarding weight. They weigh more than 3,500 kilograms. They require a truck license. And by the way, there is also a category of lighter electric vans, for which this is not needed (this is 70% of the van fleet). Many construction companies, package delivery companies, and frontrunners like Albert Heijn, TSN Groen, Ikea, and DHL are already driving them.

For entrepreneurs and companies with heavier electric vans, it is a setback because getting a truck driver’s license or paying for it for employees is expensive.

Over the next year, at least 50,000 drivers must get a driver’s license with the intended zero emission zones in 29 municipalities. In later years, this will involve at least 300,000 drivers of heavier vans (for comparison, there are now 200,000 truck drivers in the Netherlands with a truck driving license).

Minister Harbers finds it annoying that frontrunners who have invested in sustainable transport now face an additional cost and must have already purchased vehicles retested for a lower payload. Or they have to opt for smaller, less efficient vans.

For now, diesel driving is the sensible option with this decision. However, the minister considers it undesirable to leave a legally vague situation in place. He also thinks it is correct, because of road safety, that drivers of heavier vehicles be tested extra for driving ability.

It is terrible news for companies preparing for the possible introduction of zero-emission zones. It is also bad news for municipalities that had not included this fact in the justification of their traffic decisions. Entrepreneurs react on social media full of incomprehension.

Walther Ploos van Amstel.

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