Zero emission HGV market share rises amid first registration drop in two years

New research from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has revealed that while the registrations for new heavy good vehicles (HGVs) in the UK fell for the first time in two years, the uptake of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) significantly grew.

Zero emission HGV market share rises amid first registration drop in two years

The Government is targeting 100% zero-emission HGVs by 2040.

According to the latest figures from the SMMT, the amount of new HGV registrations witnessed a 3.9% decline in the first quarter of 2024, compared to same period last year. However, the uptake of ZEVs was significant.

Battery-electric HGV registrations were up more than 56% year-on-year.

This meant that ZEVs reached 0.5% of the HGV market share, up from 0.3% in the same quarter last year.

This increase is still low in comparison with the ZEV uptake in the car and van markets.

The research emphasises that growth remains constricted due to a lack of operator confidence in the zero-emission HGVs, which has also been hampered by the current grant system in the UK.

Last year, the Government reintroduced its HGV levy service, granting exemptions to ZEVs, provided they are emission-free at the tailpipe. However, the SMMT highlights that the current system involves an ‘extraordinarily lengthy’ process for which fewer than half of all ZEV models available are currently eligible.

Additionally, the research emphasises that there is a dearth of dedicated HGV charging points in the UK, with just one truck-specific public charging point in the UK, at the M61 southbound service station in North West England.

This underscores the need for policy reforms aimed at boosting the adoption of ZEVs within the HGV industry by ensuring the construction of sufficient charge points across the nation, in line with the Government’s target of achieving 100% zero-emission HGVs by 2040.

The SMMT’ chief executive Mike Hawes said: “Following two solid years of market growth, however, more action is needed to sustain green fleet renewal to decarbonise UK road transport.

“Zero-emission truck uptake remains a fractional part of the market but, with just over a decade until the first phase of the end of sale of fossil fuel HGVs, operators need inspirational incentives and infrastructure provision to accelerate their investments.”

The SMMT recommends reforming the current national grant system while implementing a national infrastructure plan, aimed at supporting businesses switch to zero emissions and reduce nearly 19 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

Last year, more than 30 businesses across the UK’s road freight sector launched an initiative intended to support the development of a nationwide charging infrastructure network for electric HGVs (e-HGVs).

Within the first two years of the seven-year project, the initiative is anticipated to install more than 200 high-power chargers suitable for e-HGVs across the UK’s network of motorways.

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