Registrations of electric commercial vehicles grew by 21.4% in January, reflecting the growing demand for zero-emission vans.
A total of 647 electric commercial vehicles were registered in January, representing 3.7% of the overall market.
Electric van uptake is predicted to climb significantly this year as a result of key new model launches, by 81.3% to 23,130 units, which would represent 6.4% of the market, compared with 3.6% or 12,759 units in 2021. This means roughly one in 16 new vans will be fully electric in 2022.
Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that total LCV registrations fell by 26.9% when compared to January 2021.
The decline follows what was the best January for 31 years in 2021, when registrations reached 24,029 units, up 2.0% even on a pre-pandemic January 2020.
While it was the weakest start to a year since 2013, the SMMT says January has historically been a volatile month due to the intermittent nature of fleet renewal.
Newly registered small vans more than halved at -53.9%, while medium-sized vehicles over 2.5 tonnes, representing two-thirds of the LCV market, fell by 29.8%. Pickup truck sales also declined, by 17.4%, but 4x4s recorded a 196.8% increase.
The SMMT’s latest market outlook forecasts the LCV sector to grow 2.0% overall in 2022, to 362,620 units. This would put the market just shy of the 365,778 vehicles registered in 2019 and only 3.5% below the sector’s record year of 2016. 2023, meanwhile, is expected to continue this growth, with 387,420 registrations, overtaking 2019 and even 2016 volumes to set a new market record. Electric van registrations are predicted to rise a further 57.6% next year, to a market share of 9.4%.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Despite the slow start, the van market is expected to post another strong year. While chip shortages, rising inflation and increased energy costs will have an impact, growth is still anticipated given the inexorable rise of home deliveries and broader economic recovery.
“With more battery powered vans coming to market, the demand for these new technologies seen in January is likely to continue across the year. With uptake rates still lagging the new car market, which has the same end of sale date, the importance of bringing every lever – purchase incentives, fiscal measures and recharging infrastructure investment – to bear on this critical sector is self-evident.”
January's best-selling van was the Ford Transit Custom, folllowed by the the Transit. The Transit Custom was the UK’s top-selling comercial vehicle, last year, with more than 53,000 sold.
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