Electric Car S-Curve Adoption By Country (Fun Chart!)

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Electric car sales are increasing at very different speeds around the world. Some developed countries still only see a handful of electric car sales per month. Others are moving hundreds of cars off of lots and into garages every day.

One of our readers had the idea of showing how electric car adoption — in terms of market share of new car sales — compares to the popular S-curve technology adoption chart we and others have shared many times. I collected the numbers from January through August (or January through July when August numbers weren’t yet available) for several countries*, made the calculations (I know — this was a very hard math equation), and put an electric car adoption overlay onto a typical S-curve chart:

For more on Norway’s electric car leadership (digging back as far as 2013), see:

Top-Selling Cars In Norway Now Electric Cars (Two Months In A Row) — 4 Reasons Why

Norwegian Electric Car User Findings (10 Charts)

14% Of All The Cars Sold In Norway In September (2014) Were EVs

23.5% Of Norway Auto Market = Plug-In Electric Vehicles In 2016

Electric Car Incentives In Norway, UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, & Belgium

Norway’s Electric Car Love Favors Nissan LEAF, VW e-Golf, Tesla 

Top Electric Car Countries (Charts)

Tesla Model S Was Top-Selling Car In Norway During First Two Weeks Of September

7 Tesla Norway Facts That Will Blow You Away

% of New Car Sales
Norway 35%
Iceland 8%
Sweden 4.6%
China 2.6%
Switzerland 2.1%
Netherlands 1.8%
France 1.6%
Germany 1.3%
USA 1.1%

Clearly, as we’ve known for years, Norway is the global market leader in terms of percentage of new car sales. A presentation by a Nissan exec from 2013 (when the market share there was getting hot and hitting around 10–15% of new car sales) still sticks with me. The presenter went against conventional wisdom. He pointed out that plenty of countries have attractive financial incentives for electric cars … yet don’t compare to Norway’s market share. He also mentioned that there were other rich countries that didn’t have anywhere close to Norway’s market share — debunking that common explanation. He admitted that it was several factors that together accounted for the large market share, but the biggest was simply awareness. It’s a complicated matter for a deeper investigation and discussion, but I think it nailed something that is seldom acknowledged.

One more thing to note before jumping into the comments below for further discussion is that the S-curve chart shown above is not how the growth in adoption always occurs. Clearly, that one is popular and drawn to look pretty, but new tech adoption in many cases shows a more dramatic rise once the key inflection point is hit. I discussed that much more in my rEVolution presentation in Amsterdam this year. Have a watch if you haven’t yet, and the key chart for this matter is below the video as well:

*Note: Electric car sales data came from the EV Sales blogspot and overall car sales came from the Best Selling Cars Blog. However, Iceland’s overall car sales came from Trading Economics. The base chart came from Harry Dent / Dent Research.

Top image via ecartestdrives

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Zachary Shahan

Zach 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], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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