The Country That Tried To Scare Off EVs Is Now Getting Swamped By EVs

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Denmark is known for its crazy complicated vehicle taxation system, and if you wanted to buy an electric vehicle in the country it has been virtually impossible to figure out the price. Changes in the system made prices fluctuate so much that one year you would see great sales in EVs and the next year none at all. Elon Musk tried to warn us back in 2015 about being late to the party, but another 5 years had to pass before a reasonable solution was to be found.

Finally, a new taxation system is in place, and car importers (and direct sellers like Tesla) are almost all done calculating the new prices, and boy, are we in for a flying start for 2021. One year ago, I summarized the EV sales in Denmark for 2019, and it was in fact not all that bad. 2020 got even better, and now there is no turning back. Denmark is doing a Norway.

The newest printed issue of the magazine Motor from the Danish Motorist Association (FDM) is flooded with EV news. Last year I did a count of articles related to all things about electric vehicles, and when I had done counting 2019, I stopped:

It was clear that the EV revolution had begun. In the new issue of Motor, a lot of data from has been compiled nicely, and the following is an even nicer summary for you to dwell on. Keep in mind, Denmark is a very small market, it has always been a pain for car makers and importers due to the complicated pricing schemes, and the Danes themselves are very conservative in their choice of vehicle because it’s so much more expensive relative to other countries.

2020 EV Sales Soared

Of the 198,132 vehicles sold in Denmark in 2020 (down from 225,581 in 2019), a record 14,234 where pure electric (up from 5,500 in 2019), and more than 18,248 were plug-in hybrids (up from 3,885 in 2019). So, in one year with the non-electric vehicles sales dropping 20% and the plugin vehicle sales in the country now exceeding 16%, the accumulated fleet has now reached 1%. This doesn’t sound like much, but mark my words: It took at least a couple of decades to get from 0% to 1% (think Citroën AX Electrique), and it will take less than a couple of decades to get to 99% (considering 1% classics hopefully still cruising around). So, we are halfway there. That’s exponential growth in a nutshell.

It’s funny, because I remember back in 2015, I was thrilled that sales of pure electric vehicles had reached 1% (of which almost all were Tesla Model S). Sales of BEVs are now 7%. No, we are not Norway yet, but it reminds me of the way I motivated myself as a marathon amateur runner many years back — just finish the day you start!  😉

Battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales in Denmark.
Battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales in Denmark. Data source: Association of Danish car importers and others

Note the drop in BEV sales after 2015 in the graph above. Up to 2016, all EVs were 100% exempt from taxes, and since then politicians have struggled to find a way to implement fair taxes to all types of vehicles. Here is a closer look at 2020:

Top 10 battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales in Denmark 2020.
Top 10 battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales in Denmark 2020. Data source: Association of Danish car importers
Top 10 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) sales in Denmark 2020.
Top 10 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) sales in Denmark 2020. Data source: Association of Danish car importers

Tesla as a brand managed to rise 73% year over year and get in the top 20 overall thanks to an incredible 4,720 units sold, of which 4,277 was the Model 3 (up from 2,439 in 2019). Porsche as a brand managed for the first time ever to get in the top 30, rising 221% in sales thanks to 421 units sold, of which 327 were the Taycan. VW is also doing great with the ID.3, managing 1,722 units sold, despite being late to the show.

71% Of New 2021 Models For Denmark Are Electric

Motor notes that out of 70 new vehicle models being introduced on the Danish market in the next 12 to 15 months, 50 are electric, ranging from cheaper options like the Dacia Spring and Fiat 500e to high-end Audi e-Tron GT and Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo.

And don’t forget, Tesla Model 3 won Car Of The Year in Denmark for 2020, and is now the 7th most sold of any vehicle. The VW ID.3 just won Car Of The Year 2021, and is already the 39th bestselling of any vehicle. That’s saying something about the coming of the EV tsunami.

The Decade Of Silent Turmoil

If the short historic sales of the Model 3 is any indication, we could be looking at a growth of 50% in electric vehicle sales every year for the foreseeable future, which would result in half of all vehicles sold in the country being electric in 6 to 7 years. That’s approaching 100% electric vehicles sales by 2030. There’s no room for linear thinking in the present electric revolution.

Photos and graphics by Jesper Berggreen. If you choose to buy a Tesla, feel free to use my referral link to get lots of free miles:

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Jesper Berggreen

Jesper had his perspective on the world expanded vastly after having attended primary school in rural Africa in the early 1980s. And while educated a computer programmer and laboratory technician, working with computers and lab-robots at the institute of forensic medicine in Aarhus, Denmark, he never forgets what life is like having nothing. Thus it became obvious for him that technological advancement is necessary for the prosperity of all humankind, sharing this one vessel we call planet earth. However, technology has to be smart, clean, sustainable, widely accessible, and democratic in order to change the world for the better. Writing about clean energy, electric transportation, energy poverty, and related issues, he gets the message through to anyone who wants to know better. Jesper is founder of and a long-term investor in Tesla, Ørsted, and Vestas.

Jesper Berggreen has 243 posts and counting. See all posts by Jesper Berggreen