Britain’s market for light commercial vehicle (LCVs) fell 20.7% in July, marking the seventh consecutive month of year-on-year decline, as 18,722 new units got registered. But BEV sales are on the rise.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which released the figures, stressed that despite strong order books, the data is the result of ongoing global supply shortages caused by the pandemic.
Demand appears to be increasing for battery electric vans, however, reflective of the industry investment in the segment. There were 765 BEVs registered in July, up 21.2%, as van buyers take advantage of new electric models that offer longer ranges, efficiency savings and fast charge times.
As a result, there have been 8,865 BEVs registered in the year to date, which is an increase of 55.7%.
“In these circumstances, the continued growth in electric van uptake is admirable as the industry strives to deliver its Net Zero commitments,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT’s chief executive.
“Given the importance of the commercial vehicle sector to Britain’s economy, its environmental ambitions and the need to keep society on the move, the next Prime Minister must look to restore economic confidence and support the sector’s transition to zero-emission mobility.”
With the semiconductor shortage expected to begin easing in the next year, volumes for 2023 are anticipated to reach 357,000 units, a rise of 16.4%. BEVs are still expected to account for 6.4% of registrations this year, while 2023’s outlook has been revised downwards slightly, from 9.6 to 9.2%, according to SMMT.
The trade association notes that a shortage of dedicated electric charge points for the auto sector remains a critical obstacle to the achievement of ambitious timescales for the decarbonisation of the commercial vehicle fleet.
Petrol and diesel vans have the same end of sale date as cars in 2030, yet new electric LCV registrations are currently at levels seen in the new car market in 2020, with a majority of van buyers citing charging infrastructure as their major concern over whether an EV can meet their professional and daily needs.
As energy costs and inflation impact business and consumer confidence, it is crucial that barriers to infrastructure access are immediately addressed.