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How does EV take-up in Europe compare to the rest of the world?

Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly popular all around the world. With the climate emergency casting a dark cloud over the planet, it’ll come as no surprise that drivers, governments and manufacturers are looking for alternatives to the traditional petrol and diesel cars. And whilst there are several different avenues that are being explored, EVs still appear to be the most likely cure for the automotive industry’s environmental headache.

But there isn’t a level playing field all across the globe. Some countries have been and continue to be, far more receptive to this new technology, with drivers in many regions still favouring the traditional means of transport.

In this post, we’ll find out how the take-up of EVs in European countries compares to the rest of the world and explore some of the reasons that could explain the trends.

How does take-up compare?

There are lots of different ways to interpret the data when it comes to EV adoption in different countries. Due primarily to the sheer size of the population, China continues to lead the way in the number of units on the roads, with almost three million electric vehicles registered in 2021 alone. That figure far exceeds the total amount of units sold across the whole of Europe, with no individual country coming close to that total. It’s estimated that there will be six million new EVs registered in China by the end of 2022 – almost double the figure that’s being forecast in Europe.

But when you take the respective populations of each nation into account, there is far less disparity between many European nations and the world-leading Chinese market. Norway boasts the best figures by far when it comes to the number of EVs per person, with the data revealing there are 18.9 people per EV. The second most is the USA with 46.8 people per EV, but three other European nations in Iceland, Sweden and Netherlands complete the top five. In China, there are just over 400 people per electric car.

How can we encourage greater take-up?

Improve charging infrastructure. One of the key barriers that is currently limiting EV takeup around the world is the lack of accessibility to public charging stations. However, plans are already in place to improve the infrastructure across Europe. One report estimates that by 2030 we’ll have 2.9 million public charging points, which would represent an increase of 2.7 million from the number available today.

Offer financial incentives. The financial incentives offered by the Norwegian Government are one of the primary reasons behind the success of their EV rollout. Some of the measures that have been implemented include exemption from road tax, reduced tolls and discounted parking. The government has also rolled out plans to ensure all new cars sold from 2025 are electric – five years before the UK’s ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles are set to come into effect.

EV-obsessed Europe leads the way

As we’ve explored, Europe is one of the biggest markets for sales of new EVs anywhere in the world. There is already vast interest in the technology and this insatiable demand will be supported by the expanding charging network and infrastructure that’s being put in place across the continent. Ultimately, the projected investment will position Europe as one of the world leaders in driving the widespread use of electric vehicles.

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