There are now more than 60,000 electric vans on the UK’s roads after the LCV market reported its 13th consecutive month of growth.
While private registrations of new electric cars fell in January, the number of zero-emission vans rose by almost 20% compared with the previous year, with 1,186 new vehicles registered, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
There are now 60,517 electric light commercial vehicles in the UK, and the SMMT says the growing number of options, plus the Plug-in Van Grant are helping make it easier than ever for buyers to switch to a zero-emissions van. In 2023 there were 28 different electric vans for drivers to choose from, with the grant offering discounts of between £2,500 and £5,000.
Despite the significant increase in BEV numbers in recent years, experts say demand must accelerate faster to meet government targets. Volumes are expected to grow from 5.9% of the market last year to 9.4% by the end of 2024 – slightly short of the 10% target mandated by the government.
The SMMT said that while manufacturers will be allowed to offset this initial shortfall, softening demand underlined the need for greater investment in charging infrastructure. It said that a lack of public chargers suitable for vans of all sizes remained a barrier to wider uptake. It also argued that the need to expand the demand means the plug-in grant must be maintained to encourage businesses to make the switch.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “More than a year of growth shows the importance of vans to Britain’s economy, and surpassing 60,000 electric vans is a crucial step in our net zero journey. Industry is ready to deliver a mass market transition but buyer demand must increase massively, requiring everyone to play their part.
“Ramping up dedicated public van charging infrastructure in particular is essential for all UK businesses to be confident of making the switch, sooner rather than later.”