UK sees electric vans sales increase by 62.7 percent so far this year

Light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations in the UK recorded their fifth consecutive month of decline in May. They fell by 25.1 percent to 22,000 units, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). It’s not all doom and gloom with electric vans seeing impressive increases in registrations. 

All segments saw a fall in volumes during the month, although larger vans weighing more than 2.5 tonnes were less impacted, with a decline of 19.4 percent. Medium vans weighing greater than 2.0 to 2.5 tonnes declined by 33.4 percent. The largest fall was recorded in the 4×4 sector, with an 80.7 percent drop, although this is a low volume segment subject to volatility.

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Some 869 battery electric vans were registered in the UK during the month. While these aren’t huge numbers, this is 276 more than last May and accounts for an increase of 46.5 percent. 

Battery electric vehicle (BEV) registrations in the LCV sector for the year-to-date increased from 3,739 to 6,085 registrations. This represents an impressive 62.7 percent increase so far this year. This is due in part to significant large fleet orders delivered earlier in the year. 

As a result, over the year-to-date, the BEV market share has increased and now accounts for 5.2 percent of the overall share of the market. This only looks set to increase as more companies move to cleaner vehicles. This is testament to the growing choice provided by manufacturers, with one in three models now available as a plug-in.

However, the sector lags behind the new car market, where, in the year to date, BEVs in the UK comprise 14 percent of new registrations and account for a 71.2 percent increase

With pure petrol and diesel cars and vans facing the same 2030 end of sale date, the need for a ‘van plan’ to encourage operators to make the switch by providing long-term incentives and dedicated van charging infrastructure is apparent. 

Electric vans comprise of just one in 20 new registrations and account for around one in 180 in use. This is borne out by an SMMT survey released last month. This revealed that 58 percent of existing van owners would be encouraged to switch to an electric vehicle (EV) if there were more public charging points. Plus, 57 percent said that government incentives, such as reduced tax or grants towards the purchase, would help them to transition to electric.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Global supply chain shortages continue to hold back the market following last May’s post-pandemic bounce back. 

“Manufacturers have, however, worked hard to get the latest zero-emission vans to customers, more than doubling their market share. However, this is still an emerging market and everything must be done to encourage drivers to switch to zero emission commercial vehicles if we are to achieve our net zero goals. 

“The industry will tackle the supply chain challenges undermining delivery but we urgently need a van plan to address the paucity of dedicated commercial vehicle infrastructure, as well as incentives to boost the sector’s electric transition.”

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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