A national van plan is needed to accelerate the uptake of electric LCVs, it has been said, after research showed widespread concern about charging infrastructure.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has issued the appeal, after a survey it commissioned from Savanta ComRes found that 57% of people who own or lease a van in the UK were worried they would not be able to find a public charge point when they needed it.

Arguing that persuading van drivers to electrify is vital for the UK to meet its net zero targets, the SMMT said that while more than a third of all new van models are now available as plug-ins, only one in 20 new van registrations are currently electric.

It said that public charging infrastructure was a bigger concern with electric vans than with cars, since chargers designed for the latter will not always be suitable or in the right locations for commercial vehicles.

Other findings of the survey included that while 88% of respondents planned to go electric by 2035, a fifth of these planned to defer the decision for three to seven years.

A greater number of public chargers would help persuade 58% of respondents to electrify, while 57% said government incentives would have this effect.

Although 65% of respondents said longer battery range would encourage them to switch, the survey also found that just 6% regularly exceed the average electric van range of around 150 miles.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “Britain’s businesses run on vans and if we’re to deliver the nation’s carbon emission cuts, we need them to move to electric. 

“There’s an electric van to suit every business case, but we need a ‘van plan’ to ensure zero-emission driving works for the millions of people for whom their van is their livelihood and the millions more who rely on these workhorses for the delivery of their daily needs. 

“The automotive industry is getting these new technology vehicles into the showrooms – we need government and other stakeholders to match our commitments to get them out on the road.”