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Published on September 24th, 2015 | by Zachary Shahan


Electric Car Market Share & Financial Incentives — Country Comparison

September 24th, 2015 by  

Originally published on EV Obsession.

Incentives are an interesting thing. Sometimes, the ones you think will work the best don’t work too well. Sometimes, ones you don’t think will have as much effect end up having a huge effect. Sometimes, incentives work great with one population but don’t work so well with another population. Electric car incentives are so varied by country and within countries that it’s hard to compare the results, but data from a couple of recent surveys provide some very interesting results.

I’ve pulled the three charts in this article from a recent UK study (h/t Herman Trabish), but the results originated in previous studies (as you can see in the credits).

In this first chart below, you can see that strong financial incentives (green vertical bars) aimed at increasing EV adoption have greatly varied success (red horizontal bars) in different countries — shockingly varied success, imho. On one extreme, Denmark has huge financial incentives and very poor EV uptake (EV market share well below 0.5%). Norway, well known for leading the world in EV market share, comes in 4th in terms of financial incentives. (Note, btw, that the chart shows slightly more than 3% of annual car sales going to EVs in Norway, but approximately 25% of new car sales have gone to EVs in recent months.) To examine your own countries of interest, scan through the chart below, but remember that this is for the year 2012… and a lot has changed since then in some countries.

Now I’m curious what Estonia’s EV market share has gotten up to….

Another study compared national incentives and EV market share in 2014. The results are below.

Apparently, incentives were measured a bit differently or something changed in Norway and/or Denmark in order to put Norwegian incentives a bit higher than Danish incentives. But the general story is the same: Norway’s incentives have helped to spur huge EV adoption, while Danish incentives have had very little effect. A top Nissan Europe exec basically put it down to awareness.

While sitting in the middle of the pack in terms of the financial value of their EV incentives, the Netherlands and California do relatively well in terms of EV market share.

One of the first things that stood out to me, though, is just how little Germany — one of the largest car markets in the world — is doing to advance the EV revolution. I wonder if it has anything to do with its powerful incumbent car companies and their investment in dirty gasoline and diesel technologies.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA] — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in this company and feels like it is a good cleantech company to invest in. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort on Tesla or any other company.

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