May Headlines

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OK. So, here at EV Essentials, we’re passionate about electric vans and the improvements in air
quality that they offer. We shout about them, advocating and promoting their features and
benefits to anyone who will stand still long enough to listen to us. 
But, to make this credible we have to hold our hands up and tell you when things are not going as
well as we had hoped, and the headline story this month doesn’t make for pretty reading. As much
as we always try and take a positive from less than welcome news, even we are struggling a little
The April registration figures from the SMMT show a modest overall van market growth of 5.4%
compared to the same month last year, whilst year to date numbers are up by 8%. Where things
start to look gloomy is when we isolate BEV figures. April saw electric vans achieve a market share
of just 3.6%, registrations being a huge 42.4% lower than the same month last year. Year to
date, we’re at 4.9%, a significant drop from the 5.4% we saw at this point in 2023. Just a reminder,
manufacturers need to achieve 10% in 2024 to avoid being fined under the ZEV
Mandate. We’re now a third of the way into the year so, some brands have got a huge amount of
catching up to do. Interestingly, in the SMMT’s latest market forecast, it had this to say… ‘LCV BEV
volumes are expected to rise 44.1% this year and push share to 8.3% (we said 9.4% in
Jan)’. Currently, volumes are 3.1% down so, quite where this huge, seismic change is going to be
coming from, we’ve no idea. Yes, there could be a pent-up demand for the likes of the Ford E-
Transit Custom, the revised lineup from the Stellantis brands that has caused a transitional hiccup
in supply, or the Mercedes-Benz eSprinter (although with this only being available at 4250kg GVM
it may be limited in its success) but, is this enough? Or, maybe, the SMMT is presuming that there
will be a huge pre-registration exercise in December with manufacturers mitigating those fines by
shoving the problem onto next year (with an even higher requirement for registrations to be of
the BEV variety. Some transparency behind the methodology when creating the forecast would
be great.
Looking at the data supplied by NewAutomotive, we can see who has the most (and least) work to
do. Year to date, Peugeot, Maxus and Nissan are the only ones to be achieving over the 10% ZEV
Mandate requirement. Not too far behind are the likes of Renault, Vauxhall and
Volkswagen but really struggling are Citroen, Mercedes-Benz, Fiat and Ford, with just 1.4% of its
registrations being electric. Incidentally, we understand that Stellantis is being treated as a single
entity, so presumably all registrations from Fiat, Vauxhall, Citroen and Peugeot will all be
thrown into a single pot.
So, what do we need? The Zero-Emission Van Plan, a package of recommended measures
designed to speed up the uptake of electric vans which has been taken to the government needs
to be acted upon, swiftly. There needs to be an easing of the additional operating
requirements that are still in place for those who want to use a 4.25t GVM electric van. The
requirement for additional driver training has been dropped but there are still restrictions relating to towing, vehicle testing, tachographs and a potential restriction in the operating area to a radius
of 62 miles from the base.