The government is offering UK firms subsidies of up to £20,000 for switching their large trucks to electric vehicles.
Business and energy secretary Greg Clark made the announcement during a three day trip to Japan to meet top executives from Nissan, Honda and Toyota – all of which have considerable manufacturing operations in the UK.
Under the scheme, companies with electric vehicles weighing over 3.5 tonnes will be able to make an application for funding.
The department for business, energy and industrial strategy (Beis) said the initiative is an extension of the "Plug-In Van Grant", which has been available on small commercial vehicles of up to 3.5 tonnes since 2012. The grant would be automatically deducted from the price of the vehicle by the dealer when it is purchased.
“The electric car revolution is well underway with consumers and this funding will encourage more businesses to consider switching to cleaner vans and trucks.
“Our automotive sector is thriving with the world’s most popular electric car already made in the UK and we are forging ahead to deploy new engine technology to make low-carbon vehicles mainstream, and leading the way in driverless car technology," said Clark.
The office for low emission vehicles, an entity jointly run by Beis and the department for transport said that the scheme extension would help stimulate the demand for electric heavy vehicles and hoped that his would encourage manufacturers to bring more electric models into the market.
The government is working with the Advanced Propulsion Centre, which has invested £1bn to develop low carbon technologies. Beis said that it has also invested in £100m in driverless and connected vehicles.