Essential Electric Van Updates: November

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I’m not one to say ‘I told you so’, but, I think I did just that. In November’s newsletter I suggested that the SMMT was being somewhat bullish in its forecast of 21,000 BEV registrations in 2023. This already revised figure may have been taking into account the strong performance in September which many, including myself thought was a blip due to the combination of a fleet distortion together with a weak market in the preceding September. October’s registrations were not great, and unfortunately this theme has carried over into November.

Overall LCV registrations for the month were up 12.7% on November 2022, and year to date the market is showing a healthy increase of 19.8%. Taking BEV’s in isolation, the month saw a fall of 17.4%, although the better news is that year to date, 15% more electric vans have been registered in 2023 compared to the previous year.

We’ve only one month left of 2023, and with a total of 17,289 electric LCV’s registered so far this year, which would mean that 3711 units would need to be registered in December. Simple maths shows that, on average 1572 were registered each month, so where are all these sales going to suddenly appear from? There certainly could be a better performance than the previous couple of months, manufacturers will have a keen eye on year end figures so dealers will no doubt be ‘encouraged’ to register as many as possible, either by additional support, or by a pre-registration programme. So, therefore, I’m going to stick with my forecast of 20,000 (or a little less) BEV van registrations for 2023.

We’ve talked about the ZEV Mandate previously, where 2024 sees manufacturers having to achieve a BEV proportion of their LCV sales amounting to 10%. This time last year, electric vans accounted for 5.8% of new LCV registrations. As of November 2023, the share has reduced to 5.5%. There is a huge task ahead for manufacturers wishing to avoid the £9000 per unit fine for each vehicle that would have been required to be registered to achieve the 10% target.

Time for our monthly deep dive into the data supplied by our friends at New Automotive. In November, Vauxhall has the largest share of the electric van market with 28%, an impressive 17% of their LCV registrations being electric. Next up is Stellantis sibling Peugeot with 17% market share, also with a 17% electric proportion of sales. The bronze medal this month is awarded to Toyota with a 10% slice of the electric van pie, and a nice 10% of LCV sales being emission free.

So, looking forward to 2024 and the ZEV mandate, who has the most work to do? Taking November in isolation the mighty Ford only achieved electric van sales amounting to 1% of its output, although they’ve plenty of new product around the corner that will help things along. Volkswagen has 5%, but Iveco failed to register a single electric unit, the new Daily not having yet come on stream. Perhaps surprisingly, Renault only managed 4% but again, new product in the form of Kangoo and Trafic E-Tech will soon start to contribute. Maxus had a 9% proportion of electric sales in the month, a good result for the company which has been fully committed to zero emission vehicle production for some time now.

One piece of good news for manufacturers has been announced just as this newsletter is being written. A ‘Rules of Origin’ trading agreement was due to come into force in January 2024. Without going into unnecessary detail, this meant that electric vehicles made in the EU and imported to the UK could have been hit with a tax penalty of £3400 per unit. In a competitive market, it’s unlikely that much, if any of this could have been passed on to the consumer so the manufacturer would have had to take a painful hit. In a last minute development, implementation of the scheme has been deferred for 3 years, giving van builders just that bit of breathing space – as if the ZEV Mandate wasn’t enough to give the directors some sleepless nights…