Electric van demand doubles in July

Electric van sales almost doubled in July, in a month of positive LCV sales growth that rivalled pre-pandemic registration figures


July marked the seventh month of consecutive registrations growth for the van market, as electric van sales almost doubled last month when compared to July last year.

According to the latest figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), close to 27,000 new LCVs joined the UK road network last month – around 8,000 more than in July 2022. This is an impressive sales increase of 44% year-on-year.

The SMMT adds that this is a better July sales performance than in pre-pandemic 2019. Van registrations back in July 2019 were actually around 4% weaker than last month’s sales volume – a sign that demand for new vans, pickups and 4x4s is on the rise, and supply chain issues are easing.

Registrations increased across almost every sector. 4×4 registrations for July grew by a pretty impressive 159% when compared to the same month last year, and sales of mid-size vans (between two and two-and-a-half tonnes) and pickups also grew by 227% and 48% respectively. In what is becoming a continuing trend, the sales of light vans under two tonnes fell by 41% last month.

Large vans (between two-and-a-half and three-an-a-half tonnes) still make up the large majority of new van sales, and this sector grew by 29% year-on-year.

Though sales are on the rise, the supply issues manufacturers are facing haven’t entirely dissipated, and the War in Ukraine and China’s persistent Covid-19 issues could cause further supply strain in the months to come.

Source: SMMT

BEV sales up 95% in July

It’s fair to say that it has been a rather depressing few months of flat sales for the electric van market. After sales stagnation in May, BEV registrations fell year-on-year in June.

However, July saw electric van registrations surge by 95%, with nearly 1,500 new models landing on UK roads. While this is positive, there is still certainly room for improvement.

With more than 25 electric van models now available in the UK, battery-powered vans still currently account for only 5% of the new LCV market as a whole, which is the same as last year.

Diesel vans still account for 93% of new light van sales, and demand for electric vans remains some distance behind the new car market, where the BEV market share is three times greater.

“The challenge now is to deliver even greater EV uptake”, says SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes, “which requires urgent action to reduce soaring energy costs and increase the provision of dedicated van charging infrastructure to bolster operator confidence and meet the unique needs of this sector.”

Good month, bad month

Just like the passenger car market, the LCV industry has been hindered by supply shortages for over two years now, and each van manufacturer has been dealing with supply issues to varying degrees.

The most impressive sales increase belongs to Vauxhall, which totalled an excellent 322% growth in registrations in July. Citroën, Peugeot, Renault, Isuzu, Nissan and Land Rover also outperformed the overall market by more than 10% last month.

Conversely, it wasn’t a healthy month of sales for the likes of Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Fiat and Volkswagen. All of these brands underachieved compared to the overall market by at least 10% (and in some cases, by a lot more than that).

Ford Transit Custom in commanding sales lead

Following Ford’s 2022 dominance, the 2023 LCV best-sellers race has been dominated by the American manufacturer yet again, with the last-year’s best-selling LCV, the Transit Custom, in pole position. The larger Transit is also becoming a permanent fixture in second place, as Ford locked out the top two spots in July.

The Vauxhall Vivaro was the UK’s ‘best-of-the-rest’ candidate in July, the second month running, and it moved up to third in the annual rankings as a consequence. Vauxhall says that almost 600 of these July sales were of the Vivaro Electric, which accounts for over a quarter of all electric vans sold in the UK so far this year.

The Ford Ranger pickup is still the UK’s best-selling pickup model by a country mile, and finished in seventh in the monthly rankings, dropping after three months in a consistent fifth position.

The Renault Trafic, Volkswagen Transporter and Citroën Berlingo sit in the middle of the pack, while the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Ford Transit Connect and Peugeot Partner complete the annual rankings after June.

Source: SMMT
Sean Rees
Sean Rees
Sean is the Deputy Editor at The Van Expert. A enthusiastic fan of motorsport and all things automotive, he is accredited by the Professional Publishers Association, and is now focused on helping those in van-buying need with independent and impartial advice.

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