With the world’s increasing concern about reversing the effects of climate change and significant scientific evidence that suggests cars are one of the biggest continual polluters, electric cars have never been more in fashion than right now. But despite their newfound popularity, electric car usage has been going on for years in plenty of countries around the world. All across the globe, drivers are now turning to electric cars to get around – but there are more in some countries than in others. Where does your homeland on the list? Read on to find out.
Which country is number one?
The Scandinavian region of Northern Europe is largely considered by the rest of the world to be a progressive, forward-thinking group of nations, environmentally conscious and focused on improving society with incremental policy changes. So, it won’t surprise you to learn that, according to a 2018 survey, Norway is the world’s number one user of electric vehicles. The survey suggested that almost 50% of all Norwegians drove electric vehicles and is often given top priority in the worldwide selection of new electric car models and designs. The Norwegian government has enacted plans for all cars in the country to be 100% electric within the next five years, hoping to incentivise drivers by placing higher taxes on fossil fuel consumption and subsiding the usage of electric vehicles.
Norway isn’t the only Scandinavian nation that features high up on this list – in Sweden and Finland, electric car usage is also relatively high, though not quite to the eclipsing levels of Norway. Many governments have plans to help subsidise the purchases of electric cars to help achieve their net emissions goals – much like some of the other entries on our list.
The big electric car hitters
You would expect the United States and the United Kingdom to all make appearances on this list – though they have far fewer electric car drivers than other countries.
In the USA, electric cars are still a relatively new thing, and they’re not often found outside of major cities or the centres of commerce and art on either coast of the country. According to figures published in 2019, California remains the state with the highest electric car usage, with sales skyrocketing over 300% over the course of 2018. For electric car drivers, there are federal tax credits available to help shoulder the cost of purchasing an electric car, and some states have even enacted their own laws and tax breaks to help cover costs. But, much like Norway, the goal remains in helping to reduce overall carbon emissions by the country, despite its 2019 exit from the Paris Agreement under President Trump.
The United Kingdom follows a similar trend to the USA, though they have been quicker to incentivise the use of electric cars, particularly in highly congested city centres. From 2011, the British government have provided a grant discount on low-emission vehicles to encourage motorists to invest in electric and environmentally friendly cars, as well as giving discounts on congestion charges in the capital – though these are expected to be phased out by 2025.
Germany ranks relatively low on global usage of electric vehicles, despite being one of the dominators in the car manufacturing market. But, there are signs things might change. In 2020 new subsidies made the cost of all-electric Renault’s less than a yearly phone contract – and some even being given away for free. France has also taken part in the scheme in a bid to incentivise consumers to switch to electric vehicles and help them achieve their climate change targets under the Paris Agreement.