60,000th Electric Van Joins UK Roads as eLCV Demand Jumps 19.4%

Electric vehicle adoption is on the rise in the UK, and the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) highlight this positive trend. In January, the 60,000th electric light commercial vehicle (eLCV) hit the UK roads, signifying the growing demand for electric vans.

According to the van registration data for January, the demand for new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) surged by 19.4%, with 1,186 units registered. This increase brings the total number of new BEVs on the road in the UK to 60,517 since 2018. Several factors have contributed to this growth, including the availability of the Plug-in Van Grant and a choice of 28 different BEV models.

What's particularly noteworthy is that the 19.4% rise in electric van registrations outpaced the overall new van market, which saw a respectable 8.4% increase in volumes to 23,962 units. This marks the 13th consecutive month of growth in the van sector and represents the highest January total since 2021.

Medium-sized vans experienced the most significant growth, with a remarkable 60.9% increase to 5,040 units, constituting 21.0% of the entire market. On the other hand, registrations of the largest vans (over 2.5 tonnes and up to 3.5 tonnes) declined by 4.5% to 14,839 vehicles, but they remain the most popular, accounting for over 61.9% of all new vans.

The pickup and 4x4 segments also saw significant uptakes, with increases of 18.2% and 62.4% to 3,002 and 729 vehicles, respectively. In contrast, registrations of the smallest vans dropped by 19.8% to just 352 units.

While these figures are promising, there's still work to be done to meet the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate's requirement for BEVs to represent 10% of sales in 2024. In January, BEVs accounted for only 4.9% of registrations. The industry outlook predicts a growth from 5.9% of the market in 2023 to 9.4% in 2024, slightly below the mandated 10%. This highlights the need for increased investment in public charging infrastructure to facilitate a faster rollout of BEVs.

Moreover, the Plug-in Van Grant, which has played a significant role in encouraging operators to adopt electric vans, is currently confirmed only until March 31, 2025. The government has indicated that it recognizes the challenges for van decarbonization and is working on further solutions to support fleets.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, emphasized the need for various support mechanisms to boost business confidence in transitioning to electric vehicles. He noted that ramping up dedicated public van charging infrastructure is essential for all UK businesses to make the switch successfully.

In conclusion, the growth in electric van registrations in the UK is a positive sign of the industry's shift towards electrification. However, to meet government mandates and accelerate the adoption of electric vans, continued investment in charging infrastructure and support mechanisms like the Plug-in Van Grant is essential.

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