Additional 2 tonnes GVW allowed for some zero-tailpipe-emission trucks

Will Shiers
July 13, 2023


The maximum permitted GVW of certain zero-tailpipe-emission trucks has been increased by 2 tonnes.

The amendment to the Authorised Weights Regulations 1998, which includes a flat 2 tonne increase for certain zero-emission vehicles, applies to all battery electric 2- and 3-axle tractors and rigids, and 4- and 5-axle artic combinations and 5 or more axle drawbar combinations.

Under the new regulations, which apply in England, Wales and Scotland, the maximum GVW of a 2-axle rigid increases from 18 tonnes to 20 tonnes, while 3-axle rigids move from 26 to 28 tonnes, subject to axle load design weights. Meanwhile an electric 4-axle artic, 2+2 combination, can legally operate at 40 tonnes instead of the previous 38-tonne maximum, and both 5-axle artic combinations and drawbar combinations see an increase from 40 to 42 tonnes.

However, there has been no increase in GVWs for 4-axle rigids or 6-axle artics and drawbars, and maximum axle loads and bogie loads remain unchanged. 

With a GVW difference of just 2 tonnes between 5- and 6-axle electric artics, these latest changes will do little to improve the popularity of electric 6x2 tractors, which are already hindered by a longer wheelbase so cannot legally pull standard length semi-trailers.

“We welcome the changes to the Authorised Weights Regulations,” said Volvo Trucks UK e-mobility and body builder product manager Mark Collins.  “We are actively working to ensure that the specification of the Volvo Trucks electric range have sufficient axle design capacity and tyre load indices to maximise the opportunity for optimal payload.  However, in some instances the maximum vehicle or combination mass limit may be a challenge to achieve as legal axle load and bogie load limits, which are unchanged, become the limiting factor.”

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About the Author


Will Shiers

Will Shiers has held an HGV licence since the age of 21, and has been writing about commercial vehicles for the past 25 years. He started his career as technical editor on Motor Transport, before taking on the editorship of Truck & Driver. Since 2011 he has been the editor of industry leading weekly publication Commercial Motor. Will is the UK jury member of the International Truck of the Year.

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