Commercial Vehicle News

UK desperately needs more van chargers as eLCV market slips

The UK urgently needs a specific infrastructure strategy to support electric vans to counter falling sales, according to industry experts.

Sales of eLCVs in April fell 42% compared with the previous year and the body that represents van makers and retailers said a lack of confidence in the charging network was part of the problem.

The SMMT called for urgent action to develop a locally delivered chargepoint strategy specifically for light commercial vehicles, saying that much of the existing network is not suitable for the largest electric vans on sale.

Its chief executive, Mike Hawes, called such a strategy “the single most important step to get a greener Britain moving”.

According to April’s new registration data, fewer than 1,000 new electric vans were delivered to businesses last month. Just 861 eLCVs were registered, meaning BEVs accounted for just 3.6% of all new LCV registrations compared with 6.6% in April last year. The month is traditionally volatile but the SMMT said that such a stark decline put green goals at risk.

It has now revised its forecast for new eLCV sales for the rest of 2024 downwards, from a 9.4% market share to 8.3%. BEV volumes are still expected to rise by 44.1% to 29,000 units, but uptake is set to remain below the ambitious sales targets set for manufacturers in the ZEV mandate, also known as the Vehicle Emissions Trading Scheme (VETS).

It said that while manufacturers continued to invest in new vehicles, the lack of suitable public charging infrastructure was a “significant barrier” to fleets making the switch from diesel to electric.

It said: “Decarbonising the sector depends on a nationally planned, locally delivered chargepoint strategy that meets the specific needs of vans – particularly the largest models for which existing infrastructure is not normally suitable.

“Identifying the best places to locate such chargepoints, while speeding up grid connections in every part of the country, is essential to give operators confidence to invest.”

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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