Which country has become a world leader in electric vehicles?

14 Mar 2019

Image: © Tomasz Zajda/Stock.adobe.com

While China is the largest market for EV unit sales, it does not have the highest share in plug-in EVs by a long shot.

The 89th International Geneva International Motor Show has been underway since 7 March and will continue until Sunday (17 March).

Electric vehicles (EVs) took centre stage at this year’s show, with countless manufacturers showing off their latest vision.

While there is a major focus on electric cars around the world, especially in the wake of tougher emissions standards and taxes, combustion engines still dominate passenger car sales globally.

However, some countries are doing better than others when it comes to electric car sales, and its no surprise that the Nordic region tops the list.

An infographic from Statista shows that the share of plug-in EVs in total passenger car and light-vehicle sales was below 5pc in all but four markets in 2018.

Norway, Iceland, Sweden and the Netherlands were all above the 5pc mark, with Norway miles ahead of the rest at just below 50pc.

A chart shows the share of plug-in electric vehicles in total new car sales/registrations in 2018.

Click to enlarge. Infographic: Statista

Norway a world leader in EVs

One of the major reasons Norway is so far ahead in electric car sales is its government’s commitment to zero emissions. The Norwegian government has set an ambitious goal for all new cars to have zero emissions by 2025. Comparatively speaking, the same goal for Ireland is set at 2030 and for the UK it’s 2040.

Policy measures such as tax exemptions, toll exemptions and other incentives have been extremely effective in promoting EVs in Norway. The country also imposes large vehicle import duties and car registration taxes. All of this makes Norway the third largest market for EVs in the world, after China and the US.

However, while China holds the top spot for the largest EV market in unit sales, it ranks sixth on the list of countries with the highest share. Meanwhile, the US’s share of EVs is just above 2pc, despite being the second largest market for EVs globally.

It seems electric car sales in Norway will continue to grow, too. In January of this year, the total number of new passenger plug-in electric cars reached 4,699 – 27.3pc more than a year ago.

Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic