The 101 on C1 7.5 Tonne

Blog-486x366_5 - The 101 on C1 7.5 Tonne

A contraction of the word “caravan,” the van is also known as 7.5 tonne lorry; category C1 and a larger goods vehicle (LGV). The van is a multi-purpose, versatile vehicle that is used by many professions, individuals and businesses.

How much do you know about the history of the van, and the types of vehicles that fall into the 7.5 tonne category? There are some domestic vans which are under the 7.5 tonne threshold, so you would only need a Category B car licence today. Although, our 7.5 tonne modern day vans require a little more

In order to drive a 7.5 tonne rated truck, you will need to obtain your C1 licence. Many C1 Driver Training schools provide intensive courses that provide you a complete package to get your licence.

7.5 Tonne, Category C1, Van, Transit and Camper van icons

The History

The first known origin can be traced back to the mid-19th century, when horse-drawn carriages and wagons were used for the transport of goods and people. This meaning was a “…covered wagon for transporting goods”.

However, it was not until the early 20th century that the modern van as we know it began to take form.

In the early 1900s, companies like Ford and Dodge introduced the first commercial trucks that resembled modern vans. Enclosed cabins and open cargo areas made the vehicle suitable for transporting goods and equipment.

Post World War 2

After World War II, the demand for vans grew. As businesses recognised their utility for deliveries and transportation, companies, such as Chevrolet and Dodge, expanded their van offerings.

Stylising the Van

Throughout the mid-20th century, enthusiasts embraced customisation. They transformed vans into stylish, customised vehicles. This trend gave rise to the “custom van” culture, with artists and craftsmen creating elaborate interior designs and paint jobs. This helped to further revolutionise the van for more leisure purposes.

The Volkswagen Bus

One of the most iconic vehicles in history is the Volkswagen Type 2, also known as the VW Bus or Microbus. Introduced in the late 1940s, this vehicle gained popularity for its unique design, interior, and ability to carry both passengers and cargo. The VW bus was amongst one of the first vans to use “forward control.” This meant that the driver would be seated above the front wheels. This “trend” was then implemented across other manufactures.

The VW Bus became a symbol of counterculture in the 1960s, and remains a classic today in society and modern culture.

Volkswagen Type 2 - VW Bus

Modernisation of the Minivan

In the 1980s, Chrysler introduced the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. This marked the birth of the modern (and Americanised) minivan. Considered to be more family-friendly, the minivan offers spacious interiors, sliding doors, and comfortable seating. This advanced the way families, friends and others could travel together.

In the world of commerce, 7.5 tonne vehicles played a pivotal role in the growth of delivery services, courier companies, and tradespeople. Models such as the Ford Transit became a fundamental standard for businesses worldwide. The manufactured began to offer various sizes to suit different needs.

Birth of the Electric Powered Vans

As environmental concerns gained prominence, electric vans started emerging in the 21st century. Companies, such as Tesla, began developing electric models to reduce emissions and operating costs for commercial fleets. Over the years, electric powered vans have been becoming more advanced, so that they can complete the necessary distance for transporting goods, providing services, or, in other cases, completing taxi fares.

Today, the 7.5 tonne lorry continues to evolve. Adapting to the ever-changing needs of society. Whether this be for business, family travel, or as a canvas for personal design and use. The van remains an integral part of modern transportation with a rich history, filled with innovation and versatility.

As the years have continued, so have designs and traits of the 7.5 tonne. Now, there are many different types you can purchase, depending on your needs, wants and interests.

We will now describe the three main types you will commonly see on the roads. This includes for both domestic and commercial purposes.


Used as a marketing term in North America, the full-size van is large and has a box appearance. A full-size van also has the capability to carry additional passengers. An example is the common Ford Transit.


Exactly what it is, a smaller version of the Category C1. These are often used for domestic use, such as shuttles and taxis. They can also be used for mail deliveries and other courier services.

Step Van

These types of vans, once again, more specific in the US, but they have been used in the UK. You may have seen these used by courier companies, such as UPS and FedEx. They are typically seen driving with the side door open.


Full-size vans have been used as commuters in the US since the 70s. The larger vehicles have been commonly used for carpooling and further ride-sharing arrangements.

The standard term “White Van Man” was coined by the Sunday Times in 1997. The ideology of “man and Van” is now a common colloquialism in the UK; connoting tradesmen for many across the nation.

Can I Tow a Trailer With a C1 Licence?

This depends on the weight of the trailer itself. For example, if the trailer only weighs up to 750Kg MAM, then you can tow this trailer with a C1 licence. To find out about towing a trailer over 750Kg MAM, read our other post, What trailer can you tow with your licence?


Small rendition of an LGV- more manageable to drive and cost effective

The larger counterpart of the van is a lot more costly and can be deemed more difficult to drive. A 7.5 tonne lorry is a “pocket size” Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV).

Customisable for your needs

Due to the amount of space in a standard 7.5 Tonne lorry, you are able to customise the vehicle so that it is tailored to your needs. You can install shelving for your equipment if you are a tradesman. On the other hand, you can also design it for more domestic/luxury purposes. For example, adding seating and customising the interior design.

Versatility and access

This vehicle category comes in different sizes, heights and forms. A C1 vehicle most commonly has two doors on the back. This makes it easier to load/unload cargo. They can also fit in a substantial amount of cargo, while still being easily accessible. Depending on how much the vehicle is filled with, the weight of the vehicle typically isn’t hindered.

Good for small transporting jobs- couriers

Many courier or delivery jobs (such as Amazon, DHL etc.) use these vehicle types for their deliveries. This makes it more accessible for many to become a delivery driver, since they won’t need to complete a Category C+E course to gain an articulated lorry licence.

A Category C1 lorry is also commonly used as an ambulance. The space gives paramedics the ability to conduct tests, carry life-saving equipment/machinery, and transport casualties to hospitals.



A van doesn’t have the best visibility in the rear. This can make drivers unsure about completing manoeuvres. Although, some of the newer vans do come with reversing cameras to aid in visibility.

Fuel economy is worse than in larger category b vehicles

Fuel efficiency isn’t as optimal as a car. You will see an increase in fuel consumption, which is a big cost factor for many. This can also impact the noise, which isn’t as pleasing for others.

Technology falls behind

The technology in bigger vehicles lags behind a car, or any other that fall below the 7.5 tonne threshold. This can pose some problems for individuals who rely on the new standard for technology.

Since the origin and development, the van has now become a versatile vehicle, used in many factions and sectors. The training industry see the C1 licence as being a necessity for many who are looking at any career type.

The Uses

Although a 7.5 Tonne lorry can be used for many different job roles and practicalities, the vehicle has many leisure uses too.

These vehicles can have camping and event purposes. They can be transformed into second homes for camping trips and exploring for those who favour the outdoors and travel. Many motor homes are also classed as 7.5 tonne. Like this example, One of our students purchased from Southdowns Motorhomes.

Category C1 Motorhome

From upskilling and becoming your own business, traveling to local cities and towns near you to complete various jobs, to cruising down the Portsmouth Coast in your leisure vehicle. 2 Start can help you get your C1 licence.

Training for your C1 licence is easy when you have experienced instructors helping you build your knowledge and practical experience.

If you are looking for a step up on your licence, then the C1 entitlement might be for you!

How Much is a C1 Licence?

Category C1 training costs differ.

The initial Provisional licence costs is free. The training and tests are where the costs lay, but it is an investment in yourself and your skills. The cost is also dependent on your training requirements, such as the medical assessment; theory and the number of training days.

Why You Should Get Your Licence?

As we have discussed, a van is customisable; manageable and has an abundant number of uses. Getting your C1 licence would broaden your horizons and give you more opportunities than you probably couldn’t begin to imagine!

HX68ZCZ C1 Vehicle

2 Start Will Help You Every Step of Your Journey!

Get your 7.5 tonne lorry licence with 2 Start. We will provide guidance on your training journey, and you can learn with our highly experienced instructors at one of our six training depots.

Begin your C1 journey today, train with 2 Start!

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