Electric Vehicle Which countries are most ready for electric vehicles (EVs)?
LeasePlan’s EV Readiness Index 2020 provides a comprehensive analysis on how prepared European countries are for the electric vehicle revolution. In this article, we explore why the most EV-ready countries are as prepared as they are.
According to the European Environment Agency, the transport sector accounts for approximately 27 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the EU alone. Switching to electric vehicles (EVs) is one of the easiest ways for countries to reduce their carbon emissions and help tackle climate change.
The Netherlands comes out top of LeasePlan’s index. It has the most mature electric vehicle market in Europe, thanks largely to its growth in EV registrations and the country’s numerous charging stations.
The Dutch Government offers financial incentives to encourage drivers to switch from gasoline cars to electric. According Dutch news company RTL, private buyers can access a grant of up to €4,000 towards the cost of buying a new or a used electric car. And if you buy a second-hand electric vehicle, you could still be eligible for a grant of €2,000.
In addition to offering financial incentives, the Dutch government has also frozen road tax for 5 years for new EVs and doesn’t charge luxury car tax. Organisations also pay a lower income tax on the Benefit in Kind (BiK) value of company cars.
Second in LeasePlan’s index is Norway. By 2025, the country aims to ban the sale of all fossil fuel cars and the wheels are already well in motion. According to Forbes, almost 60 percent of cars sold in the country in March 2019 were electric-powered.
Norway may not sell as many electric vehicles as the U.S. and China, but it’s often heralded as the EV ideal in Europe. As a country, Norway is already environmentally conscious as almost all (95 percent) of its domestic energy comes from hydropower. It has a solid infrastructure in place to support green initiatives and the use of electric vehicles fits in perfectly with the country’s renewable energy ethos.
Whereas other European countries have only recently started to offer financial incentives for buying EVs (many still don’t), the Norwegian government introduced incentives as far back as 1990. By the turn of the millennium, VAT exemptions had been introduced, road and ferry tolls were scrapped for EVs and free municipal parking was introduced. As such, Norway has had thirty years to become electric vehicle-ready.
The UK is the third most EV-ready (sovereign) country in LeasePlan’s index, up five places from 2019. In the last year, the UK has significantly improved its charging infrastructure. Statista reports that as of January 2020, the UK has 10,616 electric charging stations. It also has a higher percentage of EV registrations and more attractive government incentives than the previous year.
The UK government’s Plug-in Grant Scheme enables private buyers to claim up to £3,000 to put towards the cost of an electric car. The government also plans to its ban on fossil fuel cars and hybrids from 2040 to 2035, which has contributed to an increase in EV registrations.
British companies are also expected to spend £12 billion switching from fossil fuel vehicles to electric cars over the next two years.
Ireland moved up six places in the index from last year and is now the fourth most EV-ready country in Europe. Like the UK, Ireland has improved its charging infrastructure and financial incentives. According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), electric and hybrid vehicles accounted for just over 20 percent of new private cars licensed in January 2020—an increase from 11.6 percent in the same period in 2019.
The Irish government currently offers a grant of up to €5,000 for private car owners to switch to electric and a grant that covers the cost of buying a home charger system. For commercial vehicles, there’s a grant of up to €3,800 and both private and commercial vehicles qualify for Vehicle Road Tax (VRT) relief.
In the near-future, there may also be additional incentives for drivers in Ireland to switch to electric vehicles. The Climate Action Plan is currently proposing a car-scrappage scheme to replace the current EV grants and to develop a charging network that can cater for 800,000 EVs by 2030.
In fifth place, Sweden is showing strong growth in its adoption of electric vehicles. According to news website CleanTechnica, in January 2020, sales of fossil fuel vehicles dropped by almost 40 percent from the same period last year.
This increase in electric vehicle usage can be traced to the government’s recently adjusted incentive scheme that sees a tax increase for vehicles with high emissions. Cars with low CO2 emissions can receive up to €5,700 as a grant.
Swedish citizens also have easy access to charging points thanks to an existing infrastructure for engine preheaters. As a country, Sweden already has a good environmental profile with nuclear power accounting for around 40 percent of its electricity generation. As such, electric vehicles will continue to improve the country’s environmental performance.
For more inormation about how EV ready different European countries are, have a look at LeasePlan’s EV Readiness Index 2020.