Which Governments Are Promoting Electric Vehicles The Most?

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Which Governments Are Promoting Electric Vehicles The Most?

Explore our interactive dashboard to find out where the UK government rank in the promotion of electric vehicles compared to their European counterparts.

Electric vehicles are seeing a continued surge in sales across Europe in 2021, as motorists become increasingly concerned with the environmental impacts of driving. EVs are loved for their lack of CO2 emissions, ultra-modern design and futuristic interiors.

However, there are several issues that EVs and countries face in their pursuit of EV adoption:

  • Cost compared to petrol-powered alternatives.
  • Availability of charging points.
  • Range anxiety.
  • Limited choice.

To counteract these issues, governments around Europe have introduced incentives such as grants to contribute towards the purchase of a new electric vehicle, along with an exemption from road tax.

Which country is doing the most to promote EVs? Also, which countries are benefiting the most from EV adoption in 2021?

Visit our interactive dashboard here to explore our complete database of research, or alternatively, continue reading to find out how the UK compares to the rest of Europe in key areas of EV adoption.

Norway has promoted the adoption of electric vehicles the most in Europe


Overall, Norway has done the best job at promoting EV adoption out of any country in Europe. They are consistently placed in the number 1 spot in our individual ranking criteria, topping the charts for number of EVs per 100,000 inhabitants, market share of EVs on the road and market share of new registrations.

Although the UK government recently got bad press for reducing the EV purchasing grant incentive from a maximum of £3,000 to £2,500, the country enjoys an excellent overall score of 75 for their promotion of EV adoption – the third best in Europe.

Our Ranking Criteria:

  • Cost of Renault Zoe v Average Salary
  • Purchase Incentives
  • Number of EVs
  • Number of EVs per 100,000 inhabitants
  • Market share of EVs on road
  • Market share of new registrations
  • Public charging points
  • Standard public charging points
  • High-power public charging points
  • EVs per public charging points
  • Registration Benefits
  • Ownership Tax Benefits

Explore our dashboard to see how each country scored on their individual ranking criteria.

Estonia offers £13,000 more for their EV purchase grant (maximum) than the UK


EV purchase grants are given to consumers towards the cost of purchasing a new electric car. The grants are governments’ way of reducing the price of an EV to the consumer to make them more competitive against their petrol-powered counterparts.

In the UK, the government recently reduced their maximum EV purchase grant to £2,500, down £500 from the previous year, and made it only available on cars costing up to £35,000. This means that electric vehicles will be more expensive to purchase for the consumer. However, how does this compare to other countries in Europe? Overall, the UK offers the 14th biggest EV incentive in the continent, but the figure is dwarfed when compared to some of its neighbours.

Estonia offers the largest maximum EV purchase grant in Europe by some distance. The Estonian government will contribute up to £15,500 to the cost of an electric vehicle depending on the cost, twice as much as Germany who ranks second on our list. The Republic of Ireland offers each person who purchases an EV up to £4,300 towards the overall cost, £1,800 than the UK.

The majority of European countries offer an exemption from road tax for electric vehicles


The method to work out how much road tax should be paid on an EV varies greatly in each country, so direct comparisons are difficult to make. Some countries operate on a reduced basis compared to petrol-powered cars, while in other countries it depends on how much CO2 your car produces. However, to simplify things and give you an overview of how the governments of Europe approach car tax, we’ve grouped each policy into 4 groups:

  • Exempt: EVs are exempt from road tax.
  • Minimum: EV drivers pay the minimum road tax.
  • Reduced: EV drivers pay a reduced road tax.
  • No Benefit: EV drivers pay the same road tax as petrol-powered cars.

The majority of countries in Europe offer an exemption from road tax for EV drivers, including the UK, while other nations such as France and Netherlands offer a minimum or reduced rate. However, there are still 8 countries that don’t offer a road tax or EV ownership benefit in Europe.

EVs are most affordable in Switzerland for the average person


One of the major issues when it comes to EV adoption is affordability, with this varying greatly depending on the average yearly salary in each country. To find out where is most affordable to purchase an EV in Europe, we took the average yearly salary in each country and calculated how much a Renault Zoe would cost in comparison.

Our research revealed that a Renault Zoe will cost the average person around 29% of their yearly salary in Switzerland, the least amount of any country in Europe. It may come as no surprise that Switzerland has also one of the best rates of EV adoption on the continent.

In comparison, paying for a Renault Zoe would take up around 84% of the average person’s salary in the UK, therefore making EVs less affordable in the UK than 13 other European nations.

There are 671 EVs per 100,000 inhabitants in the United Kingdom


Appearing at rank number 10, the United Kingdom has the 10th highest number of EVs per 100,000 inhabitants in Europe. To put it another way, for every 158 people living in the UK, there is one electric vehicle. This is the best rank of any of the larger nations (over 30m population) in Europe, with Germany, Italy and France lagging behind. To see where those countries rank on our list, visit our interactive dashboard here.

In total, countries in Scandinavia have the highest rates of EVs per 100,000 inhabitants on the entire continent, with Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland all featuring in the top 10 positions. Norway has the best EV per 100,000 inhabitants score, with an electric vehicle for every 12 people living in the country. One possible reason for this is the high average yearly salaries in the nations, with 6 of the top 10 countries also featuring in our Renault Zoe v average yearly salary affordability comparison.

For more automotive content, be sure to bookmark the Select Car Leasing blog. Our recently released research analyses how 5G-connected cars will reduce your average commuting time by more than 25%.

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