EVs make headway in EU commercial vehicle sales

Vans, bus and truck segments all see gains in electric and hybrid-electric registrations

EVs make headway in EU commercial vehicle sales
EVs are slowly gaining market share in the commercial vehicle segment

New electric and hybrid electric van registrations in the EU rose by over 40pc in 2023 to 142,113 in 2023, according to new data on commercial vehicle sales from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA). 

Electric and hybrid-electric vans represented 9.7pc of all van sales in 2023, up from 7.9pc last year.

“Electrically chargeable vans are gaining traction, contributing to a gradual shift in market dynamics,” says the ACEA update. 

This shift was driven by substantial gains by pure electric vans in key markets, including the Netherlands (a 110pc rise), Spain (a 100pc rise), and France (a 77 pc rise).

The electric commercial vehicle market has lagged behind the private market throughout 2023, owing to a lack of targeted incentives for fleet buyers. This is despite the European Commission proposing actions to boost the uptake of zero-emission vehicles in corporate fleets, known as the Greening Corporate Fleets Initiative.

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In buses, new electric and hybrid electric registrations rose 65pc to 9,331 in 2023 and represented 29pc of all bus sales in 2023, up from 21pc last year.

Spain contributed significantly to the growth with 269.7pc increase in registrations to 525, followed by Italy 253pc increase to 410 registrations. Germany had by far the most registrations of any country with 835.

Diesel still maintained the largest share of sales in the bus sector at 62.3pc in 2023, despite a slight fall from 66.9pc in 2022.

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In trucks, electric and hybrid-electric registrations grew by 241pc to 5,631 in 2023, albeit from a low level of 1,650 in 2022. Electric and hybrid electric vehicles were still responsible for less than 2pc of sales in the overall truck market in 2023, with diesel still dominating the sector with over 95pc of new registrations. 

A report released this week by the European Court of Auditors highlighted high prices and the lack of adequate charging infrastructure as a key barrier to the uptake of all types of EVs in the EU.

It notes in particular that member states with lower gross domestic product (GDP) per capita struggle when it comes to expanding their electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Consumers and businesses in these areas are also less likely to be able to afford EVs.

Currently 70pc of all chargers in the EU are concentrated in just three member states — the Netherlands, France, and Germany — which make up just 23pc of the EU’s surface area.

The report recommended that current EU manufacturer level targets (which are based on average CO2 reductions) should be replaced with targets based instead on a minimum share of zero-emission vehicles.

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