CV Show 2024
23 - 25 APRIL 2024 • NEC • BIRMINGHAM • UK
28 April 2024
CV Show

Britain’s commercial vehicle numbers hit a new record

UK sees record commercial vehicle use with significant growth in electric vans and trucks; SMMT urges investment in charging infrastructure.


A record number of commercial vehicles are now in use in Britain, with 625,873 heavy goods vehicles and 5,012,632 vans in operation, up by 1.7% and 2.6% respectively, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Zero emission workhorses also recorded a boost – with electric van volumes rising by 43.5% on 2022 to 61,161, meaning 1.2% of vans on UK roads are now zero emission. Electric HGVs rose 146.4% in 2023, although at just 0.4% of the fleet, the SMMT says urgent action is required on grants and infrastructure – especially given that new trucks under 26 tonnes have the same end-of-sale date as cars and vans.

While overall EV use continues to grow, with 1,602,334 plug-in cars, vans, trucks and buses in operation, public chargepoint rollout is still lagging. 2023 was the best year for public chargepoint rollout, but there is still just one standard public charger available for every 35 plug-in cars on the road, only a slight improvement from one for every 36 last year. The situation is even more challenging for commercial vehicles, with no clear national plan for van-specific chargepoints and just one dedicated public truck charging location for the entire country.

The SMMT says with increasing numbers of electric cars and vans now being mandated for sale, the time to invest in infrastructure is now. That investment should be nationwide so that everyone – irrespective of vehicle type, location and accessibility – can access a reliable, convenient and affordable charging network.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said:

After two challenging years of constrained supply, more people and businesses across the UK are now getting back behind the wheel – and increasingly, opting for greener vehicles. However, given the ageing fleet, we now need to encourage consumers and businesses who have deferred purchases of new cars, vans, trucks and buses to upgrade. A stronger and stable economy, coupled with reduced living costs, would boost consumer and business confidence, while compelling fiscal incentives would ensure that these purchases are emissions free. Not only would this accelerate the transition – fundamental to the UK’s net zero ambitions – but it would also stimulate the economy and enhance the wider environment in which we all live.


CV Show 2024

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