Truck registrations grew for the second consecutive year in 2023, but with the market share for zero-emission HGVs sitting at just 0.5% the government has been urged to resolve infrastructure problems now for the sector to meet its 2035 target.

UK registrations grew by 13.5% last year, according to the SMMT. It said 4,667 new trucks of all types, sizes and technologies were put on the roads, representing the best annual total since 2019.

The group said the bulk of the registrations were for rigids, which increased by 14.7% to 24,439 units and accounted for more than half (52.9%) of the market.

Demand for artics was also strong and grew by 12.2% to 21,788 units.

The most popular truck type continued to be tractors, which were up 12.4% and represented 46.4% of the market.

Box vans increased by 19.2% and curtain-sided trucks and refuse vehicles increased by 37.4% and 14.4% respectively.

However, tipper registrations were down 9.2% compared to 2022.

The SMMT said the robust demand meant that UK uptake was now just 4.8% (2,308 units) below 2019 levels.

Registrations of zero-emission truck registrations increased to 234 units but this still accounted for a tiny 0.5% of the market.

The SMMT said the clock was ticking, with the end of non-zero emission trucks under 26 tonnes coming in 2035 but it added that operators needed certainty that switching to environmentally friendly variants was commercially viable.

It called for a national chargepoint strategy to include support for HGVs and pointed out that with less than one full cycle of truck fleet renewal remaining before 2035, the transition needed to accelerate:

“Two years of growing demand for the very latest, fuel efficient trucks amid testing times reflects these vehicles’ importance to the British economy – and with some HGVs facing the same 2035 end of sale date as cars and vans, the sector is also critical to our green goals,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.

“Increasing availability of electric and hydrogen models – and record demand for them – is encouraging market growth, but operators need cast-iron confidence to switch.

“More than ever, government must compel truck infrastructure rollout and provide a signal that the time to invest is now.”

A DfT spokesman said it was committed to developing an HGV infrastructure strategy and it was currently engaged with the industry, with more information being released in due course.