Urban freight operators have been urged to back a campaign to boost manufacturer confidence in electric van and truck demand.

Limited availability and high prices of electric CVs have often been cited as a barrier to operators looking to electrify their fleets.

However, many manufacturers do not believe there is sufficient demand for electric freight vehicles, according to research from the Freight Electric Vehicles in Urban Europe (Frevue) project.

The Frevue team has established a Declaration of Intent for Electric Freight campaign and is urging all operators working in urban areas to support it.

The aim is to persuade manufacturers to start or scale-up development and production of fully electric or hybrid freight vehicles, as well as build the case for financial incentives while they remain dearer than diesel counterparts.

From an operator perspective, Frevue said supporting the initiative will help a business communicate externally that it is committed to sustainable transport. It may also identify joint procurement opportunities with other local firms interested in electric freight vehicles.

So far, 22 Declaration of Intent forms have been signed in Europe, representing a potential market of 1,115 electric vans and 4,115 electric trucks.

The initiative is supported by the LoCity programme in London, which was created to help the freight industry transition towards low- and zero-emission CVs ahead of the Ultra Low Emission Zone rollout in April 2019.

Frevue members include parcel firm UPS (pictured), which has been increasing its use of electric trucks in London as part of its urban fleet strategy.