Sales of battery electric vans (BEVs) rose by 21% to 20,253 units in 2023, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
A total of 28 different models were registered during the year, equating to a market share of 5.9%, some way off the 10% zero-emission new van sales expected from manufacturers this year, with the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate coming into force.
The figures also show that BEV uptake jumped 73.8% to 2,964 units in December 2023, representing 10% of registrations in the month – the second highest ever monthly BEV share.
Since 2019, 58,226 electric vans have been registered, helping make the UK the third largest electric van market in Europe by volume. However, it remains behind several other European nations by market share, including Germany, France and Spain.
Immediate action to reduce existing barriers to BEV uptake is crucial, the SMMT argues, with the single biggest obstacle being the insufficient number of van-suitable public chargers – requiring significant infrastructure investment in every UK region.
At the same time, a long-term commitment to the plug-in van grant will be necessary to make the switch accessible and equitable for operators across all sectors and parts of the country, it says.
Sue Robinson, chief executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK, agrees. She said:
In 2024, the Government will need to provide more clarity to LCV drivers looking to make the switch to electric. The impetus to drive the transition to zero-emissions for LCVs very much depends on the Government appreciating that outside the larger cities and towns, buyers of BEV commercials need the reassurance that there will be sufficient charging infrastructure to use EV vans on longer journeys.