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Marina Degtyareva
30 September 2016

The World Goes Electric

Electric cars make up around 1% of the global motor pool. Nonetheless, many countries invest a lot of efforts to make electric cars more affordable to their citizens and to gradually stop using fuel and diesel engines. During the climate conference COP21 that was held in December 2015 a number of countries declared their plans to ban the use of vehicles on fuel and diesel by 2050. They are the UK, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Quebec and eight states of the U.S. Statistics for the year 2015 shows that the number of electric cars increased to 1.26 mln globally. This statistics is taken from the report of the International Energy Agency (IEA). Although this number is not as high as compared to that of fuel and diesel cars, it is still double of what it was in 2013 meaning that the world goes electric.

Oil Producing Norway is a Front Runner

The first place in the world in terms of market share of electric cars is a small Norway with a population slightly over 5 million people. In 2015 electric cars and hybrids sales made up around 30% of all car sales in the country. This popularity of electric cars is primarily caused by the government-run benefits program for electric car owners.

Initially, first benefits for owning an electric car were introduced in the period from 1990 to 1999 when the government cancelled electric transport registration fee, license and road charge as well as ensured free parking for electric cars on municipal parking lots. These measures encouraged a great deal of interest of Norwegians to electric cars although the real selling boom began in 2013 because by that time the country had a vast network of charging stations and prices were reduced because of an increased competition. By April 2015, 50k electric cars were sold in Norway and in the first quarter of 2016 - around 11k.

Recently mass media have been publishing information about Norway’s plans to ban fuel cars by 2025 which provoked a great debate among Internet users because Norway is an oil producer. But the government refuted this information underlining, however, that they intend to continue encouraging reduction of pollution by gradual transfer to electric cars and eventually Norwegians will abandon fuel cars on their own.

The Netherlands Will Ban Fuel and Diesel Cars

Market share of electric cars in the Netherlands is around 10%. The country can become one of the first to legally ban fuel and diesel cars by 2025. This initiative was recently announced by reps from local labor party. This restriction will most probably apply only to new cars while previously registered cars will not be banned.

According to European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association the Netherlands are leading in terms of number of electric cars in 2015. In that year the country registered 43,441 electric cars while the next leading nation, the UK, registered only 28,715.

The government of the Netherlands provides many incentives to those who decide to go electric. Thus, electric car buyers do not pay registration tax (BPM) and motor vehicle tax (MRB). On top of tangible economic benefit an important role is also played by a solid infrastructure available to electric car owners. Virtually every parking is equipped with designated space for electric cars where it can be parked and charged. In addition, many charging stations are also available on city streets.

China is Gaining the Upper Hand

In 2015 China experienced electric car sales boom which made it the global leader in terms of number of electric cars leaving the U.S. behind. According to TASS, 370k electric cars were sold in China making it 497k units total for that country.

In connection with a huge number of cars, ecologic and transport situation in the capital, in 2016 Beijing mayor’s office limited registration of new cars to 150k cars of which 60k shall be electric cars. According to China Radio International, the number of Chinese capital residents who want to purchase electric cars has already surpassed 60k people. Experts believe that such electric car frenzy is happening because China’s network of charging stations for such cars is constantly expanding. Relatively low cost of charging and fast registration procedure stirs up the interest of buyers to electric cars.

Today PRC views manufacture of electric cars as a strategically important industry. Chinese government considers a possibility of introducing mandatory quotas for car manufacturers. This measure will stimulate Chinese car groups to produce more electric cars or buy them from overseas in proportion to the number of fuel or diesel cars sold by them.

Germany to Support Electric Car Buyers

In 2009 German government set an ambitious goal to have 1 mln electric cars by 2020. Despite the increase in number of registered electric carts from 13,118 in 2014 to 23,481 in 2015, their share is still too low - only 0.8% of total car sales in Germany. Presently there are only 50k electric and 45k hybrid cars in the country. Realizing that they are not going to reach this goal with available incentives the German government decided to introduce a program to boost the sales of electric cars with total budget of EUR 1 bln, reports Kommersant.ru.

Citizens are promised to get a discount of EUR 4,000 for buying an electric car and EUR 3,000 for hybrids. This program will be implemented together with German electric car manufacturers. On top of that the government is going to allocate EUR 300 mln towards the development of charging stations network and EUR 100 mln towards purchase of service electric cars.

US Lags Behind

The aim of reaching 1 mln electric cars was set by the U.S. back in 2008. They planned to reach this number by 2015. And they failed to increase the number even by half with only 400k electric cars sold. Experts relate it to low fuel prices and high cost of electric cars. In addition, so far the driving time on one charge is still low which reflects on demand.

Despite 6% drop in sales in 2015 car manufacturers continue to produce new electric car models. This is also due to governmental support and ecologic trend. New electric car models presented in Detroit Auto Show include Chevrolet Bolt EV by General Motors, Fiat Chrysler introduced hybrid Pacifica and Ford Motor introduced electric Ford Fusion.

India Goes Electric Due to Weather

An unexpected announcement was made this Spring by Piyush Goyal, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines, telling that India will stop using fuel and diesel cars by 2030. At the same time as of today India is not in the top list of car manufacturers or buyers. According to Сarscoops slightly over 20k of electric cars are sold in India anually while numbers of fuel cars sold are in tens of millions.

Indian government believes that by 2020 electric car sales will increase up to 6 mln per year because it will be inexpensive to buy an electric car. Despite seeming unlikeliness of such scenario, latest events caused by weather conditions in India can streamline this process and allow to at least approach this goal if not reach it, believes Editor-in-Chief of Clean Technica.

The thing is that this Summer monsoons have severely damaged roads that connect one northeastern state with the rest of the country. This cut off state Tripura was left without fuel leading to mass protests in the north-east of the country which continue for over a month. Therefore, Indian government became even more interested in affordable electric transport for its citizens.

Is Russia In?

There are electric cars in Russia but they are not very popular. According to Deutsche Welle their share is only 0.06% of total electric cars in the world or 722 of 1.26 mln. According to analytic agency “Autostat” only 38 electric cars were sold in Russia in the seven months of 2016 which is 30% less than during the same period of the last year (54 cars). Experts believe that main reasons behind low demand in electric cars in our country is the absence of extensive network of charging stations, high price for buyers and absence of state backing of car manufacturers.

So far there are only several dozens of charging stations in Russia which is too few for comfortable owning of electric car. However, the main owner of charging stations, state-owned “Rosseti”, promised to open another 1,000 charging stations by 2018.

According to “Kommersant.ru” currently the Russian government is working on a program for development of electric transport in the RF until 2025. The draft version of this governmental program contains suggestions to encourage ‘manufacture and consumption’ of electric cars. So, it is suggested to free electric car owners from transport tax and reduce it for owners of hybrid cars, introduce discounted rates for toll highways, allow them to use public transport lines and provide free parking on paid municipal parking lots. In addition, it is planned to substantially reduce the red tape for building charging stations.

The document proposes to introduce mandatory share of electric transport to be used in large cities public transportation. Its size is not mentioned but it further says that by 2020 at least half of pubic transport has to be eco-friendly in the RF. That being said, the state unitary enterprise “Mosgortrans” is about to purchase 30 electric cars equipped with solar panels with total cost of RUB 49,757,500 and has already published the announcement on the public procurement portal.

Back in 2005 there were only several hundred electric cars in the world whereas today this number surpasses 1 mln and this number is rapidly growing each year. The popularity of electric cars in the world, including in Russia, comes hand in hand withe development of charging infrastructure, state incentives for car manufacturers and users, reduction of cost of buying an electric car and increase in battery capacity. Acknowledging the above many countries are already introducing additional strong incentive to encourage the demand for electric cars.

Photos: flickr.com, ecomot.ru, chevrolet.com, borgenmagazine.com, proenergo.net, unian.net

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