Electric Car Incentives & Market Uptake By Country

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.

EV Incentives By Country 1

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.

EV Incentives By Country 2

EV Incentives By Country 3


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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2 thoughts on “Electric Car Incentives & Market Uptake By Country

  1. While interesting, not all incentives are the same. To compete against gas cars, what EV need is infrastructure. For example, I wouldn’t have got SparkEV if there’s no DCFC, even if they’re giving it away (I don’t need another insurance and registration). To that end, I’d be curious EV adoption vs infrastructure (both subsidized and not) broken down by L1, L2, and DCFC. I don’t know how best to quantify it, though.

  2. Hi can anyone help point me towards market research done, in the UK (or any other countries) into the reasons for the different levels uptake (i.e. behavioural, cultural factors as well as barriers to those who are otherwise very interested)

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