Vans are the fastest growing source of CO2 emitted from transport. Electric vans are being made and sold - but only in tiny numbers. We need to encourage vanmakers to up their ambition.

Yes we van

Vans now account for 16.5% of transport emissions in the UK. But while emissions-free vans are ready, only 5.5% of the new vans sold in 2020 were electric – compared to 15.2% for cars. Under the ZEV mandate 70% of all new van sales in 2030 will be fully electric, moving to 100% of all new sales in 2035.

The Climate Change Committee has highlighted that progress on switching to electric vans is going so slowly that it is a cause for concern - especially since the pandemic which increased home deliveries considerably in the UK.

16.5% of all UK transport emissions are produced by vans

4.5M vans are driven on UK roads each year

76% increase in the number of vans on UK roads between 1999 and 2019

35% increase in emissions from vans between 1999 and 2019

The problem

Over 4.5 million vans are driven along our main roads and streets, providing a crucial means for people to work, services to run and goods to move. In recent years, the number of vans on our roads has exploded, as have emissions. Emissions from vans are rising faster than from other road transport, increasing by 35% between 1999 and 2019 - with a 76% increase of vans on our roads in the same 20 year period.

Electrification of the UK’s vans isn’t going quickly enough, with BEVs making up just over 5% of new van registrations. The number of vans on UK roads increased by more than three quarters between 1999 and 2019 and emissions rose 35% in that same time.

What targets are currently in place?

Currently ZEV mandate targets outline that 10% of sales need to be battery electric in 2024 and 70% need to be battery electric in 2030. While these targets should secure a steady trajectory to speeding up the transition for vans, the Government should be continuing to identify ways to better support the electric van market.

What else can be done?

Electric vans are often also more reliant on the public charging network than cars but, to date, much of the public network is often unsuitable to van drivers due to different accessibility needs or being located in places that are not as useful for commercial vehicles. The Government needs to proactively working with fleets, local authorities and chargepoint operators to ensure the van transition is being properly supported by the infrastructure network.