HGV market grows despite EV gridlock

UK demand for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) grew by 17.1% to 11,517 registrations in the first three months of 2023, according the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The fourth consecutive quarter of growth means the market is now just 2.9% below the first quarter of 2019.

The rise in registrations was led by double-digit increases of rigids and articulated trucks. The number of new rigid models joining UK roads rose by 17.3% to 5,838 units, representing the highest first quarter demand for new rigid HGVs since 2019.

HGV uptake also grew across Great Britain, but electric and hydrogen HGVs represented just 0.3% of the market, due partly to the absence of a single HGV-dedicated public charging or hydrogen refuelling station in the UK.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “The fourth quarter of growth shows that the HGV sector’s recovery from pandemic and supply chain shocks now has momentum. For truck fleet renewal to drive UK economic growth and decarbonisation in the long term, however, the zero emission HGV market must gather speed – but operators still need greater certainty that Britain is serious about becoming a globally competitive location for zero emission logistics.

“With an abundance of new electric and hydrogen truck models now ready to join UK roads, a plan is urgently needed to deliver HGV-dedicated public infrastructure, along with incentives for net zero vehicle and depot investments that contend with the world’s major decarbonising nations.”