Electric Cars Rule Above All Else in These Five Nordic Countries

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【Summary】Electric vehicles continue to be more popular in northwestern European countries, where battery-powered cars account for approximately eight percent of the world’s total amount of cars.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    May 08, 2018 9:00 AM PT
Electric Cars Rule Above All Else in These Five Nordic Countries

On the face of it, you wouldn't expect electric vehicles to be popular Nordic countries, like Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, and Denmark. Large amounts of snowfall and blisteringly cold weather would make gasoline and diesel-powered machines the obvious choice. But that isn't the case.

As U.S. News reports, the five aforementioned Nordic countries are only home to 0.4 percent of the entire planet's population, but accounted for nearly eight percent of the world's fuel-efficient cars, including plug-in hybrids, fuel-cell cars, and battery-power vehicles in 2016. That tidbit of information comes from a report by the International Energy Agency. 

Why Are Electric Cars So Popular In Nordic Countries? 

As we've reported before, electric cars are extremely popular in Norway, where EVs and hybrids outsold conventional gas-powered machines last year. Despite the recent appeal of electric machines in the northern region, EV sales in China and U.S. are still ahead when you look at total units. Still, EVs, as the outlet reports, accounted for 39 percent of new car sales in 2016, while battery-powered cars only accounted for 1.4 percent of sales in the U.S. 

The major selling point for EVs in the five countries can be attributed to their governments that have made it very attractive to ditch gasoline. Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark all offer consumers with generous tax brakes and rebates for vehicles that run on alternative fuels. In addition to those, buyers in the country can also get discounts to use toll roads, which are more prevalent than they are in the U.S. 

The final aspect pushing motorists away from gasoline is how heavily taxed the source of fuel is. U.S. News states that individuals in Norway have to pay $7.68 per gallon! The average in the U.S. last week, on the other hand, was roughly $2.60. I love sports cars and high-performance vehicles, but if gas hit $7.68, I would probably give up on my dreams of owning something powerful and fast for something more fuel efficient. 

All of the incentives, along with the countries' push to add more chargers, has swayed motorists, especially in Norway, to move towards EVs because of their economic benefits. "You see increasing EV penetration where it makes economic sense for customers to buy or own EVs," said Reid Wilk, a partner in the automatic practice at a consulting firm. "It's a really simple statement, but it's a complicated process to get there." 

EV Ownership Is Expected To Continue To Rise

As the outlet states, EV ownership in the region has soared. EV ownership increased by 57 percent from 2016 to 2017, for example. Last year, roughly 250,000 electric cars were on the road at the end of 2017. And that figure is expected to increase by 15 times to a total of 11 million cars by 2030. 

The push to sell more electric cars in Nordic countries is to reduce the amount of emissions. If 11 millions cars were actually on the road by that time, it would constitute a decrease of 40 times of emissions as if motorists bought the same amount of gas-powered cars. But the emissions part of the equation isn't what appeals to motorists. 

"It's just cheaper to own an electric vehicle, and as a result you have seen demand rocket for electric vehicles," says Mark Gottfredson, a partner at Bain & Company. "They've really led the world." 

Will electric vehicles ever be as popular in the U.S. as they are in other parts of the world? Only time will tell, but EVs are already a much better alternative than gas-powered options when it comes to fuel economy. 

via: U.S. News

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