Denmark’s Car of the Year Awards Highlight the Fact that the US Can’t Have Nice Things

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As Jesper Berggren just wrote, for the 5th year in a row, an electric car won Denmark’s annual Car of the Year award. Just as notably, almost all of the finalists were electric cars. A few things stood out to me beyond what Jesper said or probably even thought.

Photo courtesy of

First, let me run through a couple of not-so-important opinions regarding the winner and the runner-up. I am quite surprised the BMW i5 won, and especially by such a large margin. It’s an alright option, a decent enough electric car, but it wouldn’t be one of the top 10 or even top 20 that I’d recommend to someone. It’s overpriced for what it offers, and BMW’s tech is behind the times, in my humble opinion. Even the exterior design looks quite old and dated. But maybe that’s what hooked the members of the motorist association who gave it the high scores and title.

Volkswagen ID.7
Volkswagen ID.7. Courtesy of Volkswagen.

Regarding the silver medal, I love the coming Volkswagen ID.7. I already raved about it a few weeks ago. I think it could be the dream EV Volkswagen has been needing. That said, it’s a sedan, and who buys sedans these days? We’ll see.

But it was #3 and #4 that triggered this article. Two of the best new electric vehicles on the market came in at #3 and #4 — the XPeng G9 and the BYD Dolphin. Of course, these are from Chinese companies, and they are not on the US market. In fact, there’s no real indication they will ever be on the US market. We can dream, especially for the G9, but XPeng and BYD haven’t announced plans to enter the US market and it’s not a certainty they ever will. We hope they will. We think they will. But I also wouldn’t bet much money on it. In any case, though, they are making top-notch electric cars today and those cars are available in China and in Europe, even (no offense to Jesper and his people) in Denmark. In fact, BYD sells its Dolphin in several markets and will introduce it in more soon. But not the US. Because we can’t have nice things.

There are a few reasons for this. One reason is that the US doesn’t have the most mature or lively electric vehicle market. We’re not even at 10% market share for EVs, and even the market share they have is dominated by Tesla (more than 50% of US EV sales). Lack of strong federal policies requiring more efficient vehicles combined with a difficult dealership scene make selling EVs in the US much harder than it is in Europe or China. Throw in the fact that we drive much more, live further apart, and have a strong heaping of xenophobia, and you can see why BYD and XPeng would prioritize Denmark over the USA.

BYD Dolphin

It seems that we used to lead in everything and get everything first. Now we’re often third in line, and in the case of BYD’s super popular, top-selling electric cars, not even close to third. Will we ever get these XPeng and BYD electric options? Let me know down in the comments below.

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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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