The European light commercial vehicle (LCV) market is anticipated to register a CAGR of over 6%, during the forecast period, 2020 - 2025.
- Some of the major factors driving the growth of the market are a rise in e-commerce activities (which in turn, has resulted in the growth of the logistics industry), and the emergence of new ride-sharing platforms.
- Online retail sales and e-commerce have been rising, due to increased penetration of internet connectivity and smartphones. This is expected to result in increased purchase of LCVs for facilitating the timely delivery of items to buyers. The tough emission norms are forcing the vehicle manufacturers to reduce the weight of the vehicles, in order to comply with the emission standards. This has increased the use of lighter metals, such as aluminum, magnesium, and their alloys and lighter composites, such as carbon fiber, in the vehicles.
- An increase in the demand for LCVs in the region is also due to the emergence of new ridesharing platforms. For instance, Daimler entered into a joint venture with the US startup company Via. Via is focused on developing scalable and on-demand ride sharing solutions. Together, the two companies aim to introduce on-demand shared rides in Europe, which is likely to increase the demand for passenger vans in the European region during the forecast period..
- Cities are restricting diesel vehicles access through the implementation of ultra-low emissions zones, and in addition to that government grants, lower running and servicing costs and access to ultra-low emissions zones can make electric commercial vehicles an attractive choice for business in the future.
Key Market Trends
E-commerce Driving the Commercial Fleet Segment
Road transportation accounts for the majority of freight transport in Europe. According to Eurostat, over 75% of inland cargo transports within the EU, i.e., about 1,750 billion metric ton-kilometer (tkm), travel by road. In some European countries, this percentage goes as high as 90%, or more. The primary factor driving the growth of the market is the increased preference for pickup trucks and small vans over heavy-duty trucks and railways for logistics.
Additionally, the rapidly growing e-commerce in Europe represents a central pillar for the digital single market and reflects the advancements in the e-tailing sector, which is witnessing the expansion of well-organized retail spaces. As the e-commerce industry continues to grow across Europe, the demand for a more advanced distribution network is increasing. The last-mile delivery companies are investing in electric vehicles to make their existing fleet more fuel-efficient. For instance, In 2020, Arrival an electric van manufacturer has won a USD 428 million order from United Parcel Service (UPS) for 10,000 vehicles. UPS is also planning to buy an equity stake in the startup, Arrival has already received over USD 100 million funding from Hyundai and KIA.
Similarlymajor delivery companies, such as FedEx, DHL, Harrods, Hermes, etc., switching to electric light commercial vehicles. Mercedes is planning to enter the electric van market by introducing electric vans for the German logistics firm, Hermes. In one such move, the German postal service, DHL, fabricated its own electric vehicle for operations in the country.
Increasing Demand for Vans
Registrations of new light commercial vehicles in the European Union reached 2.1 million units in 2019, a 2.8% year‐on‐year increase. The new WLTP emissions test was introduced for vans in September 2019has provided a boost in the demand of Van in the last quarter of 2019. Vans contribute to 80% of the total light commercial vehicle sales in Europe. They are used for a wide range of commercial activities, such as construction, postal and courier services, ambulance services, policing and rescue operations, mobile workshops, and passenger transportation.
In 2019 diesel-powered vans account for 92.8% of the new registration in the European Union, followed by those powered by petrol with 4.4% and alternative fuel vehicles with 1.3%. Diesel engine vans are used because of their high torque and efficient load carrying and towing capabilities.
Currently, there are over 32 million vans in use in the European region. The average age of a van is rising and has increased to 11 years. Europe is also one of the largest exporters of vans. The demand for European vans is mainly driven by the increase in logistics activities. During 2019, the region exported 362,200 vans to several locations across the world.
Whereas Europe is gaining traction in the market with the help of electric vans, major players in the market are launching new electric vans for this region. For instance,
In 2019, Peugeot has announced the addition of a fully electric van called the e-Expert in its electric vehicles portfolio. This electric van will hit the European market by second half of 2020, with the choice of a 50 or 75kWh battery.
The Europe LCV market is moderately consolidated, has a limited number of active players, owing to the presence of major commercial vehicle manufacturers in the region. Some of the major players in the market are Nissan Motor Co., Groupe Renault, Volkswagen AG, amongst others. Although, the market is also witnessing the entry of new startups. The companies are launching their new electric LCVs model with new features in the market. For instance,
- In 2019, Renault launched hydrogen-electric commercial vehiclesMASTER Z.E. Hydrogen and KANGOO Z.E. Hydrogen. With hydrogen, the company is trying to increase the range of the vehicles from 120 km to up to 350km.
- In 2018, Nissan launched its e-NV200 electric van with a range of 124 miles and a 40 kWh battery pack. This e-NV200 has the feature of a bi-directional charging technology, which can be used to return excess energy stored in the battery back to the grid.
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