DAF Trucks Managing Director, Laurence Drake, has renewed calls for the UK government to provide more support for the industry to accelerate the transition to zero emissions. The comments from Drake come after DAF Trucks retained its position as the leading UK truck manufacturer with a 32.1% market share (13,068 vehicles) in 2022 for trucks above 6.0 tonnes GVW, according to recently released data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The figures show a 9.6% growth in the UK market above six tonnes GVW compared to 2021, with DAF registering a 13.2% growth, mainly attributed to the success of its New Generation Range.
Despite the growth, the uptake of electric trucks remains low, and Drake believes more support from the government is necessary to help operators make the transition to zero-emission vehicles. “While there are a number of valuable government initiatives, such as the Battery Electric Truck Trial and the planned Zero Emission Road Freight Trial, both designed to help encourage operators to start the transition, more needs to be done,” he said.
Drake believes the current UK Battery Electric Truck Grant is modest compared to other countries, where incentives can cover as much as 80% of the cost delta between diesel and battery electric trucks. He suggests with the current high wholesale electricity costs, electric trucks can’t compete against today’s most efficient diesels in terms of total cost of ownership. Drake further highlights that early adopters of electric trucks need financial support to help with the transition as the cost of moving to electric is not just about the truck, but also the charging infrastructure and the need to adapt operations and schedules.
“DAF Trucks is investing heavily in electric trucks,” he said, “DAF dealers are investing in the tools, training and facilities to support those trucks and many DAF customers are keen. However, they need support to help the transition. If the industry is to meet the end-of-sale dates for non-zero emission vehicles, there needs to be more financial support for early adopters to really kick-start the use of electric trucks in the UK.”
To demonstrate DAF’s commitment to electric trucks, the company created the DAF EV & Sustainability team within the DAF Trucks UK organisation in 2022. Additionally, all DAF Truck Sales locations in the UK and Ireland will be upgraded to the status of DAF Electric Truck Centres by the end of the year. With the government’s support, DAF is optimistic about the future of electric trucks in the UK and is ready to contribute to the industry’s transition to zero emissions.