People are becoming both more tech-savvy and eco-conscious by the day. No longer do they demand only faster and more reliable cars. They call for a change in the automotive industry, a shift towards sustainable transportation. That means no fossil fuels, less pollution and fewer greenhouse gasses.
The role of electric vehicles of all kinds, including hybrids, plug-in hybrid and fully electric cars in a race towards carbon neutralityis paramount. European countries, especially EU member states, all seem to understand the grave role of this new means of transportation.
Wide adoption of electric cars has created an overriding need for an EV charging stations network. The governments’ support in the strive towards creation of such charging points varies greatly across regions. Interestingly, it seems to be independent of contemporary politics.
Most European governments, whether left-wing, right-wing or centre, developed a business-oriented approach to this subject. As one might suspect, the division corresponds rather to what the Old Continent looked like before 1989. The rich and developed West, such as the Netherlands, France, Germany or the UK and Nordic countries like Norway or Sweden are the European leaders of electromobility.
Electric vehicle charging stations are becoming scarce as we move to the East and South, towards what used to be under the influence of the Soviet Union. The Balkan peninsula is notably home to the least charging stations, on par with such countries as Belarus or Kazakhstan. The large disparity in an average income between the old and the new EU member states corresponds with the number of EVs on the roads. The network of charging stations and the profitability of more advanced and expensive technologies, such as DC/fast chargers are greatly influenced by that factor.
Prices of electric vehicles have dropped significantly in the last few years, making them more available to those with lower-level earnings. To further increase the number of new EVs sold, European governments introduced a system of incentives, mainly in the form of purchase subsidies. Again, the amount of these varies from one state to another.
Notably, the most generous is the government of Romania. It is somewhat unexpected, given the fact that until recently there were hardly any electric vehicles being driven there. The other two top countries are Germany and France, which is perfectly understandable, as their automotive industries produce dozens of various models of EVs.
There are also some European countries which offer no subsidies towards the purchase of electric cars, such as Czechia, Slovakia, Denmark, Norway or Iceland. Instead, new EV owners receive tax benefits, as well as other incentives. Such policies do not seem to hamper the market share of EVs. Norway, Iceland and Sweden have the most electric vehicles in Europe, between 68 and 25% of all cars registered there, while Germany is listed 10th, with nearly 8% and Romania 21st, with only 1,2%.
One can see clear signs of cooperation between European governments and the automotive industry. More electric vehicles on the road and the creation of an extensive network of charging stations will be beneficial to all parties and especially to more ‘ordinary’ consumers. Going green, which seems to be the direction where Europe’s heading even despite the pandemic, means not only less expensive transportation but most of all, the future in a safe and sustainable environment.
Infographics source: Electromobility in Europe: EVs and Charging Stations, oponeo.co.uk