Electric and hydrogen HGV demand continues to grow

British demand for HGVs has grown by 14.9% in the third quarter of 2023 being the sixth consecutive period of growth, according to the latest figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The market saw 11,531 trucks delivered with electric and hydrogen trucks continuing to rise, representing 0.8% of the market in Q3: the largest quarterly share of 2023, compared with 0.3% and 0.4% in Q1 and Q2 respectively.

Growth was driven by uptake of rigid HGVs, up 13.9% to 6,293 units, while demand for articulated trucks was also strong, rising 16.1% to 5,238 units. Tractor truck bodies for large deliveries was the most popular body type – at 44.5% of the market – and smaller trucks are up 11.8% in terms of registrations. Tipper registrations declined, down -9.7%, compared with a strong third quarter in 2022.

While zero emission truck uptake has reached record levels, its share is still a fraction of the entire HGV market, and the sector’s transition needs to be accelerated given its time-critical ambitions. With new registrations of non-zero emission HGVs weighing under 26 tonnes due to end in 2035 – the same date as cars and vans – zero emission vehicles represent just one in 119 new trucks, compared with one in five new cars and one in 20 new vans.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “Britain’s sixth quarter of rising HGV rollout and increasing uptake of zero emission trucks this year underlines the sector’s strong position, with operators in all UK regions getting the latest fuel-efficient and very greenest models.

“The rate of zero emission truck uptake must increase, however, both drastically and soon – amid significant obstacles to the sector’s transition. With just one public HGV chargepoint in the UK, a national plan for public and depot infrastructure is urgently needed to make fleet decarbonisation a reality for all operators, now and in the long term.”

Image courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK.

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