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.
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.
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.