Commercial Vehicle News

Industry warns electric van sales ‘must rise faster’

Sales of electric vans in the UK are still not rising quickly enough, according to industry leaders, despite a 3% growth last month.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) warned that while eLCV sales were keeping up with the general growth of the market they were not accelerating quickly enough to meet the demands of the Vehicle Emission Trading Scheme, also know as the ZEV mandate.

Electric LCV registrations were up 3.5% in May and they accounted for 4.2% of the whole LCV market – almost unchanged from the 4.1% recorded last May. However, the SMMT figures show that in the year to date, eLCV uptake has fallen 2.1% and they account for 4.8% of the total market, compared with 5.2% last year.

The government-set mandate requires 10% of all van sales in 2024 to be zero-emissions vehicles and the SMMT said that without commitment to financial support from government businesses would struggle to meet this.

In a statement on the latest registration data, the industry body said: “Harnessing the sustained growth in LCV demand but converting more operators to go electric will be crucial to the delivery of net zero.

“With a choice of more than 25 zero emission models now available to suit a variety of use cases and compelling offers available, manufacturers are making massive investments in this transition.

“With Britain heading to the ballot box next month, however, all parties must plan to put in place measures to help UK businesses go zero emission, by sustaining existing fiscal incentives for electric and hydrogen vans, and ensuring the provision of van-specific charging infrastructure.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, added, “The UK van market’s 17-month run of growth is playing a crucial part in renewing the fleet with the latest, cleanest vehicles. However, convincing businesses that now is the time to switch to zero emission operations remains a challenge.

“With an expanding choice for every use case now available, the next government must take steps to recharge the zero emission van market, an essential part of the net zero economy every party wants.”

Matt Allan

Matt is Editor of EV Powered. He has worked in journalism for more than 20 years and been an automotive journalist for the last decade, covering every aspect of the industry, from new model reveals and reviews to consumer and driving advice. The former motoring editor of, The Scotsman and National World, Matt has watched the EV landscape transform beyond recognition over the last 10 years and developed a passion for electric vehicles and what they mean for the future of transport - from the smallest city cars to the biggest battery-powered trucks. When he’s not driving or writing about electric cars, he’s figuring out how to convert his classic VW camper to electric power.

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