Getty lorry pic

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Growth in sales of ZEV HGVs remains constricted due to a lack of operator confidence which is not helped by a lengthy grant system where fewer than half of all ZEV models available are currently eligible.

So said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) as it released its latest new HGV registrations data.

Registrations fell for the sector for the first time in two years, with a -3.9% decline in Q1 2024, however, operators still registered 11,068 new HGVs between January and March, just 449 fewer units than the same period in 2023, which was the strongest start to a year since the pandemic.

ZEV uptake reached 0.5% of overall registrations, up from 0.3% in the same quarter last year – which is still low in comparison with the car and van markets, although an improvement of 56.3% in volume terms on last year.

The SMMT put this down to the complicated grant system as well as a dearth of dedicated HGV charging points. There is apparently just one truck-specific charging point in the UK, at the M61 southbound service station.

Reforming the grant and implementing a national infrastructure plan would help more businesses switch to zero emission HGVs suitable for a wide range of business needs and help slash around 19 million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year, said the organisation.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes commented: “The truck sector currently stands steady, with just a small decline in uptake compared with a very strong quarter last year. 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.”