TNB News

Make electric vans the focal point of a new chargepoint

12 January 2023 #TNB News

A growing number of light vehicles being registered in the UK now require electric charging, with plug-in LCVs rising by 31.2% and more than one in five cars coming with a plug in 2022, according to SMMT’s full year figures. This trend is only expected to accelerate, with a plethora of electric LCVs entering the market in 2023 – and BEV van registrations expected to rise by a further 60.7% – but there remains a hole in the narrative: on-street and en-route charging infrastructure.

SMMT published its seven point plan last year to highlight how the UK can significantly ramp up its provision of public chargepoints, which is pivotal to a successful transition. The key points remain pertinent, including the need to develop and implement a nationally coordinated but locally delivered infrastructure plan, that ensures the right chargers are in the right places, across every region of Britain.

Crucially, for a van sector that faces a 2030 end-of-sale date on pure petrol and diesel vehicles, these chargers must be suitable for the specific requirements of vans of all sizes. Yet binding targets that ensure charging infrastructure is in place to meet demand from new BEVs ahead of need, as well as metrics to appropriately assess and track adequacy over time, have not been put in place. This in turn undermines confidence that business-critical vehicles like vans can be charged and used to their full potential.

Minimum requirements in public chargepoint planning, commissioning and delivery, along with associated parking spaces that meet the needs of light commercial vehicles must be put at the centre of long-term, national policy, and we need it sooner rather than later.

For example, stakeholders and regulators can put a framework in place to enable distribution network operators to commit to well-justified, anticipated investment in local networks that are most constrained, as well as in strategic locations to future-proof charging for heavier vehicles.

Vehicle manufacturers have designed, manufactured and brought battery electric vehicles to life. Now we need all stakeholders to work together to ensure that the necessary infrastructural support is in place to enable the market to grow and thrive, with the end goal of delivering on our long-term net zero targets.


Update Newsletter