TNB News

New van uptake must be greener, and sooner

04 April 2024 #TNB News

Popular demand for light commercial vehicles (LCVs) is on a roll, with the latest figures published today by SMMT showing 15 months of growth in new registrations, up by a tenth to pass the 50,000-unit milestone for the first time in three years. The numbers are good, but the real value is that these LCVs are the most fuel efficient on our roads, delivering carbon savings compared with the older vans that they will replace.

Businesses are also going electric at increasing speed, with battery electric uptake of vans below 3.5 tonnes up 15.9% to 2,906 units – meaning the green market share edged up to 5.5%, albeit from 5.3% in March last year. It remains below the 10% sales quota that manufacturers must meet this year and while the Vehicle Emission Trading Scheme offers flexibilities, it is becoming more urgent that government takes an active role in encouraging investment in the wide range of high-performing, competitive zero emission models on offer in the UK.

But operators must be prepared to make the switch and while the Plug-in Van Grant is absolutely essential, we need a bigger commitment to putting in place the infrastructure that helps businesses have the confidence to invest in new technology. For the last two years, SMMT has highlighted the need for a national van plan to ramp up investment in van-suitable public chargepoints across all parts of the UK, but it’s yet to become the top priority it should be given government’s ambition for world-leading decarbonisation.

Industry is continuing to invest, and later this month, the Commercial Vehicle Show will exhibit the latest zero emission LCVs and their technology, along with an all-new seminar series covering all the topics that fleets need to know to be success in our greener future – from introducing zero emission fleets to regulatory change, skills and recruitment. The seminars will provide an opportunity for operators that haven’t yet invested in BEVs to plan for decarbonisation – which every single operator can start doing today. Book your ticket here.

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