Eco-friendly commercial van sales climb 21% in a year as more small businesses ‘go green’

4 February 2019

Sales of eco-friendly commercial vans in the UK have increased by 21% in the last year alone to 1,523 in 2017/18*, shows new research from Funding Options, the online businesses finance supermarket. This is up from 1,254 the previous year as more small businesses ‘go green’.

The number of ultra-low emission vans on the road has more than quadrupled since 2012, when there were just 319 sales recorded.

Funding Options says that many small businesses are looking to promote their environmentally friendly credentials as a way of differentiating themselves from competitors. One way of doing so is to invest in ‘green’ fleets, which businesses can use as a marketing tool to attract both customers and potential employees.

Updating old fleets to eco-friendly vehicles also helps to reduce costs for businesses. For example, low-emission vehicles are exempt from London’s congestion charge. Many older vans – which green vehicles are replacing - are run on diesel, which from April 2019 will have to pay twice as much in congestion charges in the capital. The city of Birmingham is also planning to introduce a congestion charge.

Sales of eco-friendly commercial vans jumped by 21% last year, and have increased by more than four times since 2012

Sales of eco-friendly commercial vans jumped by 21% last year, and have increased by more than four times since 2012

The increase in sales may also reflect how Government grants have encouraged investment in these vehicles. In the last year, the Government has added three low-emission vans to its list of vehicles eligible for grants, making the total number 10. The grants provide 20% of the sale price, up to a maximum of £8,000.

Conrad Ford, CEO of Funding Options (, comments:

“Smaller businesses are becoming more aware of the long-term benefits of being environmentally friendly, and are investing more in ‘green’ assets as a result.”

“If you are a strongly branded business involved in home delivery or home servicing you can hardly avoid customer pressure for you to 'go green' with your commercial vehicles. That pressure is not just from millennials.”

“While many larger corporations have the spare capital to commit to environmentally friendly initiatives, smaller businesses often have to prioritise investment in other areas.”

“This can lead to businesses running old, inefficient and rusty vehicles. However, public perception and Government grants have encouraged smaller businesses are now better able to update their fleets for the long-term.”

Funding Options explains that more and more small businesses are approaching them for help with financing to obtain electric vehicles. Options such as hire purchase, a type of asset finance, and leasing are popular and simple ways of getting finance to upgrade fleets.

*All Light Goods Vehicles with fully electric power or with tail-pipe emissions below 75 g/km of CO2 (including plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles), year to September 30 2018, analysis of Department for Transport statistics