Record zero emission truck uptake in third quarter of 2023


SMMT figures have shown that uptake of electric and hydrogen trucks has continued to rise in the third quarter of 2023, representing 0.8% of the market – the largest quarterly share of 2023, compared with 0.3% and 0.4% in Q1 and Q2 respectively.

Overall, demand for new heavy goods vehicles grew by 14.9% in the third quarter, with 11,531 trucks joining Britain’s roads.

It represents the UK’s sixth consecutive quarter of growth and the greatest number of new HGV deliveries in any quarter since the end of 2019. Most positively,

Overall 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. The most popular truck body continues to be tractors, typically used for the largest delivery trucks, up 16.4% to represent some 44.5% of the market. There was also a rise in demand for box vans – slightly smaller delivery trucks – with registrations up 11.8%, while uptake of curtain-sided trucks and refuse vehicles increased by 62.5% and 16.6% respectively. Tipper registrations declined, however, down -9.7% compared with a strong third quarter in 2022.

The vast majority (87.7%) of sales were in England in Q3, with registrations up 13.9% to 10,109 units. Truck fleet renewal in Scotland and Wales rose by 16.5% and 9.2% respectively, while Northern Ireland saw the biggest increase, up 64.6%. The top UK region for truck investment continues to be South East England – where some of Britain’s largest ports are located – with 2,438 new HGVs entering service there, accounting for more than one in five (21.2%) registrations. North West England and the West Midlands were the second and third hottest spots for HGV renewal, registering 1,599 units and 1,445 units respectively.

In 2023 to date, truck registrations have grown by 16.4% to 34,222 units, just 5.0% below 2019 levels2 – with registrations having increased in every quarter since Q2 2022, as reducing supply chain challenges help to fulfil robust demand.

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 shows Mercedes-Benz eActros 600.