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Electric van demand plummets despite booming van market

The UK's new van market saw a 5.4% surge in April, but demand for electric vans dropped by 42.4%

The UK’s new van market experienced its best April performance in three years, with a 5.4% increase compared to the same period last year, according to data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

This marks the 16th consecutive month of growth in the sector.

However, despite the overall positive trend, there’s a concerning decline in the demand for battery electric vans (BEVs), which fell by 42.4% in April.

Analysts attribute the decline in BEV uptake to several factors, including volatility in registration volumes following the new plate March and ongoing challenges related to charging infrastructure.

Currently, BEVs account for only 3.6% of all new LCV registrations, compared to 6.6% in April of the previous year.

The latest market outlook from SMMT forecasts a modest growth of 3.3% in the UK’s new van market for 2024, with BEV market share revised downward to 8.3%.

Although BEV volumes are expected to increase by 44.1% in the same year, they are likely to fall short of the ambitious targets set by manufacturers under the Vehicle Emissions Trading Scheme.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “Britain’s new van market continues to grow with the very latest, more fuel efficient models driving down carbon dioxide – a core mission for the sector.

Manufacturers are investing billions to bring electric vehicles to market, however, uptake is slowing and urgent action is needed.

“If the government is serious about delivery of its ambitious targets, it must deploy an equally bold strategy for delivering van-suitable public chargepoints across the UK, now the single most important step to get a greener Britain moving.”

Kim Royds, Mobility Director at Centrica, said: “EV production levels are at record rates – but driver demand is still lagging behind. To balance supply and demand, more work is needed to help drivers overcome the barriers to making the switch.

“Top of the list must be tackling the inequality between domestic and public charging infrastructure. If more people have access to a chargepoint, whether they have a driveway or not, it stands to reason that EVs will become more attractive to a greater portion of the population.”

James Court, Chief Executive Officer of EVA England, said: “Today’s latest EV sales figures for April highlight two trends. Firstly, EVs continue to steadily eat away at petrol and diesel’s share of cars on UK roads.

“But secondly, we are simply not seeing the rapid rise towards mass uptake that has been the hallmark of the last few years.”

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