CV manufacturing shows resilience but support needed for ZEV uptake

29 September 2022 #Uncategorised

During a period of economic uncertainty, the commercial vehicle manufacturing sector continues to provide a cause for optimism. Today’s new figures from SMMT show CV output grew by 92.9% in August, with 6,132 units rolling out of British factories.

While part of the growth is due to comparison with a highly disrupted August 2021, it was nevertheless the best August since 2012, with strong demand for vans, trucks and buses meaning the sector also recorded its best year-to-date performance since 2012, at 64,828 units – some 19.4% higher than the pre-pandemic five-year average.

Britain’s CV manufacturers are demonstrating their resilience to produce for home and overseas markets, despite major global economic and supply challenges, while at the same time investing to deliver on the UK’s ambitious targets for the roll-out of zero emission vehicles.

This was evident at IAA Transportation last week, where it was good to see heavy vehicle manufacturers bringing a growing number of battery electric vehicles to market. I expect a number of them will be working on submitting an application for funding via the £140 million Zero Emission Road Freight Demonstration programme, along with logistics and charging infrastructure partners.

The requirement for demonstrations to be on the road by 2025 may be a little tight for hydrogen vehicles, as prototype that have been shown so far may not go into production for a few years, while the commensurate refuelling infrastructure is even more complex.

Funding competitions that demonstrate new technologies are crucial for showcasing how the CV sector can support the UK’s net zero ambitions, but financial incentives like the Plug-in Truck Grant are also necessary to encourage uptake of the latest zero emission vehicles. The grant that is available to UK operators is not as generous as those in some European countries, however.

There is growing UK demand for these next-generation vehicles but, in light of our world-leading decarbonisation targets, every stakeholder must play their part in supporting the transition. The current investment in innovation by manufacturers must result in greater numbers of these vehicles joining Britain’s roads.


Update Newsletter