Tuesday 22nd May 2012
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Smutty newspapers, cigarettes flicked out of the window and careering across multiple lanes of traffic while flicking the V-sign - the enduring image of the White Van Man is as British as bulldogs, tea cups and the Queen.

But the estimated two million White Van Men on British roads are getting set for a green overhaul, as the government announced plans for a cash boost to electric van buyers.

Purchasers will be able to received 20 per cent - up to £8,000 - off the cost of a new plug-in van as part of a government grant scheme to encourage more businesses to invest in electric vehicles.

Unveiling the seven vans that make up the first wave of eligible vehicles, transport secretary Justine Greening said: "Our new grant demonstrates that you can be a motorist and still be pro-environment.

"The new Plug-in Van Grant - offering up to £8,000 of one of these seven innovative vans - also makes business sense, as it's been estimated that a small electric can will typically cost £100 less in fuel for every thousand miles driven compared to a diesel equivalent."

With the seven eligible vans including the Renault Kangoo VAN ZE and the Daimler Mercedes-Benz Vito E-Cell, keen workers trading in their best-selling Transits are set to cause a flood of Ford spare parts.

The scheme mirrors an earlier grant introduced to cover fleet vehicles, with the car parts market set to see a boost as large companies go green.

And the decision is good news for fleet operators and van owners alike, according to Next Green Car's Dr Ben Lane. "It's good to have that confirmed," he said.

"Extending electric car grants to cover fleet vehicles is a positive step in lowering emissions on our roads," said Gearoid Lane of British Gas New Markets, which is backing the scheme.

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