Demand for electric vans was down by a fifth in October, according to new sales figures. However, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says the sales data was skewed, because of a large fleet order in the same month last year.
Fully electric vans represent one in 20 (5.5%) new light commercial vehicles (LCVs) registered so far this year.
The SMMT says uptake rates will need to accelerate as the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate comes into effect in under two months.
The ZEV mandate requires 10% of vans sold by manufacturers to be electric in 2024. Targets for manufacturers will increase each year, requiring 70% of new vans sold in Great Britain to be zero emission by 2030, increasing to 100% by 2035.
The Autumn Statement, due later in November, is a key opportunity to send a message that now is a good time to make the switch, by committing to retain existing incentives and beneficial tax frameworks for battery electric vehicle (BEV) buyers, says the SMMT.
Looking further ahead, the SMMT also wants the Government to address major barriers to mass uptake, particularly by ramping up the rollout of public charge points which meet the specific needs of vans of all types and sizes.
Furthermore, by providing prompt legislative approval for driving licence derogations for LCVs weighing more than 4.25 tonnes, it says it will be easier for fleets to invest in the largest BEV vans, accelerating decarbonisation and improving air quality in every region of the UK.
SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, said:
As the crucial pre-Christmas delivery period commences, there is a clear appetite for fleets to be fitted out with the latest vans – and it is of critical importance that those vans are the latest, cleanest zero emission models.