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Incentives fail to stimulate European electric vehicle sales

New research from JATO Dynamics on electric vehicle incentives has found that:

  • Although Denmark appears to be a haven for EVs in Europe with tax exclusions that can potentially amount to €20,588 per vehicle  there were only 283 registrations (or 0.32% of all vehicles registered in the country)
  • Spain (€6,500) and Great Britain (€6,400) have almost identical subsidies but GB registered almost five times the volume of EVs (599 versus 122) in the period
  • Sweden registers an almost identical volume as Spain (111) but subsidises each vehicle by only €470
  • Total EV registrations were only 5,222 in the first half of 2011

Commenting on the findings, Gareth Hession, vice president for research at JATO, said: "The discrepancies highlight the apparently low influence of price on purchase decisions across the region. Given this it's reasonable to conclude that sales are more affected by other factors such as the degree of urban geography, market maturity and charging infrastructure than was previously thought."

These local factors include the ability to use bus lanes and free city-centre parking in Oslo and exemption from London's Congestion Charge all of which appear to exert a greater influence than point of purchase incentives.

The research also confirms a ten-fold increase in EV registrations across the region over the same period in H1 2010 - 5,222 compared to 507.

Gareth Hession said: "It's clear that the EV market is set for significant growth and we are at the early stages of its development. As the market matures we might expect subsidies to exert greater influence as other considerations such as charging infrastructure are addressed. As it stands today, even the large subsidies don't address the majority of end user concerns around real world application, flexibility and fitness for purpose. It will be critical for manufacturers to better understand these factors if they are to maximise customer engagement and sales growth."

He concluded: "The research might suggest that the price of EVs is still too high to be accessible to the mainstream market in Europe. In addition at this early stage in the market's development the current sales figures could also be skewed by contracts between manufacturers, local government, and large institutions designed to raise the profile of EVs."

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