New electric van registrations increased by over half in April as UK light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations declined by almost a third.
According to the latest figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), new electric van registrations increased by 52.7% year-on-year to 919 units in April - representing one in 24 new vans joining the road.
In the same period UK light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations declined to 21,597 units, down by -29.1% year-on-year. SMMT noted that despite following an all-time record for LCV registrations last year, the figures are still down by -12.2% compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
SMMT attributed the fall in LCV registrations to supply chain pressures, both locally and globally, including shortages of semiconductors, which have hampered deliveries and undermined strong demand across all segments.
It added that in light of ongoing supply chain challenges, it has revised its outlook for new van registrations downwards from 363,000 units to 328,000 in 2022, with this year’s market expected to fall -7.7% on 2021,and BEVs expected to account for 6.3% of registrations.
Newly registered large vans, which comprise more than two thirds of the LCV market, totalled 16,212 units, down -19.1% compared with a year ago, as the segment’s market share increased by nine percentage points to 75.1%.
SMMT said this is due in part to more significant declines in registrations of medium-sized vans – those weighing greater than 2.0 tonnes to 2.5 tonnes – which fell by -48.6%, and by small vans – weighing equal to or less than two tonnes – which dropped by -48.2%, as components shortages restricted supply.
Sales of pickups, meanwhile, declined by -44.0%, while 4×4 registrations dropped by 77.8%.
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While electric LCV uptake continues to grow, it still has a way to go, SMMT said, pointing out that the market is still lagging behind the switch to electric passenger cars. SMMT called for government policies that incentivise operators to make the switch, which it said will be essential to help the sector meet decarbonisation targets.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, added: "Despite the global supply pressures on the UK’s light commercial vehicle sector, manufacturers are prioritising the most popular models, while investing in electric options where demand is slowly but steadily growing.
"Constrained supply, however, does mean that 2022’s new van market is expected to be down on last year’s bumper uptake.
"Even so, while market conditions remain challenging for van operators across the UK, now is the time for those looking to renew their fleets to put their orders in, as interest rates remain historically low and an increasing range of fuel efficient and electrified models are now available."