Government plans to mandate OEMs to produce a certain quota of zero-emission vans from 2024 must be “ambitious” if they are to meet growing industry demand for electric vans, New AutoMotive warned this week.

The warning follows the publication of July’s Electric Van Count (EVC) from New AutoMotive, a not-for-profit independent transport research organisation dedicated to accelerating and supporting the UK’s transition to electric vehicles.

In its latest tally the EVC found that electric vans accounted for 5% of all new vans sold in July in the UK, up from just 3% in the same month last year, demonstrating growing demand for EV’s. Sales of new electric vans rose from 602 in July 2021 to 808 in July 2022.

However, despite soaring fuel costs, diesel vans still accounted for 93% of new van registrations in July. The report states: “Electric vans continue to be the fastest growing market segment, despite the overall number of new van registrations shrinking by 22% compared to July 2021.

“Diesel still accounted for 93% of new van registrations in July, so it is crucial that the right support is given to the electric van market going forward.”

Despite the continued demand for diesel vans, electric vans are continuing to grab an ever larger share of the market, the EVC found, with electric vans the only fuel type to significantly grow both in terms of market share and total volume sold compared to July 2021.

This compares to an overall drop of 22% in new van sales as the impact of the cost of living crisis and global supply chain issues continues to take its toll.

The report found that the race for a share of the electric van market is intensifying. Ford secured the biggest share of the electric van market in July, with one in four new electric van registrations being Ford vehicles, marking an “exponential” growth in its share of the electric van market, after selling no electric van models in 2021.

The EVC also found that, collectively, the top three manufacturers - Ford, Peugeot, and Maxus - represent over half of all electric vans sold in July.

Ford saw 218 electric vans registered in July 2022, compared to zero in the same month last year, whilst Peugot’s electric van registrations rose from 39 to 147 in the same period.

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However both Maxus and Mercedes Benz saw their new electric van registrations fall. Maxus saw its registrations decline from 179 in the period, whilst Mercedes Benz electric van registrations dropped from 119 to 97.

The report also found that the brands that are electrifying the quickest are Maxus, Vauxhall and Peugot.

Maxus topped the table with 38% of their van sales being electric this month, with Vauxhall and Peugeot coming in next with sales of 16% and 13% respectively.

Despite Ford being the most popular electric van manufacturer in the UK, accounting for 34% of all new electric van registrations, electric vans only accounted for 3% of its total sales.

Ciara Cook, New AutoMotive research and policy officer, said: “It is great that more and more businesses and individuals are discovering the benefits of switching to an electric van.

“However there is still a mountain to climb, with over 15,000 new diesel vans registered in July. Each new ICE van registered is a polluting vehicle that will stay on the roads for years to come.”

“The cost of living crisis and sky-high diesel prices are hitting businesses hard. The savings in running costs electric vans offer could be crucial for many businesses in the difficult months ahead.

“An ambitious ZEV mandate will be critical in making sure that the supply of electric vans meets demand, as more businesses discover the savings they offer and make the switch.”

The DfT launched a consultation earlier this year on its plans to require manufacturers to produce a certain amount of zero-emission cars and vans from 2024.

The aim of the mandate is to ensure that OEMs are making adequate preparations for the UK’s 2030 ban on new pure petrol and diesel car and van sales.