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Growth Continues for LCV Market but Electric Vans Fall Short

The UK light commercial vehicle market showed growth for month of May, marking the 17th consecutive month of increasing new LCV registrations.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show 25,853 registrations in May, a 1.9% increase over the previous May.

Interestingly, while all LCVs were up by 1.9% year-on-year, large vans – which are the bulk of the registrations – were down slightly. Large vans (between 2.5 and 3.5t) were down by 0.8%, from 17,173 units in May 2023 to 17,042 in May 2024.

Instead, the growth was due to increased registrations in small and medium vans. Small vans, below 2.0t, showed an increase of 55.7%, from 469 in May 2023 to 730 in May 2024, while medium vans (between 2.0t and 2.5t) grew 8.1% from 4,143 to 4,477.

Year-to-date, all categories are showing growth, with an overall 6.8% change from the previous year. Overall, 144,554 LCVs have been registered in 2024 so far, compared to 135,296 registrations at the same point last year.

Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) registrations have not showed the hoped-for increase, with only a 3.5% improvement over the previous May (1,077 compared to 1,041 last May). Year-to-date, BEV registrations have fallen 2.1%, down from 7,028 to 6,877. This has reduced market share from 5.2% to 4.8%.

The causes for this include lack of trust in BEV range and chargepoint accessibility, plus concerns over vehicle cost. With the Vehicle Emissions Trading Scheme target set at 10% for the year, this is a result that needs addressing swiftly. It is hoped that, with the General Election looming, political manifestos will include measures to help with the transition to zero emissions, such as financial incentives and government support.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The UK van market’s 17-month run of growth is playing a crucial part in renewing the fleet with the latest, cleanest vehicles. However, convincing businesses that now is the time to switch to zero emission operations remains a challenge. With an expanding choice for every use case now available, the next government must take steps to recharge the zero-emission van market, an essential part of the net zero economy every party wants.”