Is There A Difference Between HGV and LGV?
Have you ever seen the terms 'LGV' and 'HGV' in the same sentence and felt a bit baffled? Aren’t they the same thing? And if they're not, what on earth is the difference, and what do they really mean? Luckily. Those questions don't have to go unanswered. At HGV Training Prices, we are here to lift the veil and show you exactly what the differences are, and what that means for your licensing choices.
LGV vs HGV
If we go way back to the beginning of commercial vehicle haulage, there were only LGV's on the road. However, the term LGV was used to mean 2 different types of vehicle, which made it incredibly confusing. If you were talking about a LGV, you were either talking about:
- A 'light goods vehicle', which is any commercial vehicle under 3.5 tonnes. This included things like vans and pick-up trucks, and could be driven by anyone with a normal driving license – no special training required.
- A 'large goods vehicle', a.k.a, what we know as a HGV. This term was used for any vehicle over 3.5 tonnes in weight, so included things like flatbed lorry's, refrigerated lorries and trucks, curtain side lorries, box vans, drop sides and tippers. Unlike a light goods vehicle, you do need a specialist license to drive any of these vehicles.
The term HGV didn't come along until later, when road tax was separated into brackets for different classes of vehicle. Here, the term LGV is used for light goods vehicles, and their tax discs had the word ‘LGV' stamped onto it so that authorities would know the vehicle had been taxed properly. That means that a new term needed to be created to refer to the larger vehicles, to avoid confusion. Since the key difference was weight, the larger vehicles were called ‘heavy goods vehicles' instead. Since this made it so much easier to tell the difference, the term has stuck around and become the norm.
So What Are The Different Types Of License?
So as we mentioned before, if you're just looking to drive light goods vehicles, you don't need any kind of qualification other than your standard driving license. But for HGV's, you need to have some more specialist knowledge. There are a few different types of license you can obtain to drive different types of HGV.
- C1 – Category C1 is the very first, basic level of HGV license. Most HGV drivers on the road will have a C1 license. A C1 allows you to drive a vehicle of 3,500 kilograms, as long as that vehicle is under 7.5 tonnes in gross weight. Anyone who passed their drivers test before 1997 automatically has a C1 license, so it's worth checking to see if this applies to you.
- C1 + E – This license is also commonly known as a 7.5 tonne + trailer license, and pretty much does what it says on that tin. It allows the driver to operate a vehicle with a gross weight of up to 7,500kg, with an attached trailers of over 750kg authorised mass. This is provided that the maximum authorised mass of the trailer is not more than the unladen weight of the vehicle being driven, and that the combined maximum authorised mass of both the vehicle and the trailer doesn't exceed 12,000kg. This license can only be taken once the driver has already completed their C1 test and got the license.
- C – A C license allows drivers to drive vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, but must not exceed 32 tonnes. Category C license typically covers a vehicle with a cab and trailer fixed permanently together. In other words, what we would consider a 'standard lorry' configuration. While you have this license your vehicle weight must not exceed 750kg, and you must be over 18.
- C + E - A C + E license is the most comprehensive license you can hold. With this license drivers can drive and handle a draw bar or articulated vehicle, as well as all of the other, smaller vehicles covered by the C and C1. The E part of the license stands for entitlement, and means that the bearer can go up to or over 750kg in weight, allowing the driver to drive any large goods style vehicle needed, including a double trailer.
At HGV Training Prices, we are dedicated to educating the next generation of aspiring drivers everything they need to know about the world of HGV's. Our expert trainers can handle all abilities, and take you through every step of what your career as a HGV driver will look like – from technicalities and inspections to every day maintenance and, of course, driving. To find out more about how we can help you, just get in touch with us today.