Norway continues to lead the global plug-in electric vehicle (EV)/plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) market, according to an analysis by IHS Automotive.
In the first quarter of this year (Q1'15), Norway ranked first on the new IHS Automotive Plug-in Electric Vehicle Index, which ranks the market share of EV and PHEV registrations in a given quarter for eight countries.
With EV/PHEVs representing one-third of new vehicles registered in the country during Q1'15, Norway leads the first-quarter rankings with just over 8,000 units and achieved a 41% increase in volume over the same period in 2014. The report says that no import taxes on EVs, among other incentives, have made these vehicles a viable alternative to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in Norway. The Volkswagen e-Golf was the dominant model among consumers in Norway during the first quarter, the analysis says.
The Netherlands experienced the second-largest growth in electric vehicle share in the first quarter, with more than 5,700 units registered, representing 5.7% of the market during the quarter.
Volumes Remain Highest in U.S., China
The report says the U.S. and China led all countries based on volumes of new EV/PHEVs registered during the quarter, with nearly 15,000 registrations in the U.S. and nearly 13,000 registrations in China.
“While the federal tax credit in the U.S. of up to $7,500 for plug-in electric vehicles is continuing to encourage sales across the country, the adoption of these vehicles has been uneven, as consumer consideration and choice has skewed in favor of states offering additional incentives, like the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project in California or Georgia's Zero Emission Vehicle Tax Credit,” explains Ben Scott, senior analyst at IHS Automotive. “In addition, low fuel pump prices are adversely influencing EV/PHEV purchases among U.S. consumers.”
Market share for EV/PHEVs in the U.S. remains low, with these vehicles accounting for just 0.8% of the market during Q1'15, according to IHS. Based on volume, the most popular EV/PHEV in the U.S. is the Tesla Model S.
In China, the report says government incentives available support EV and PHEV ownership. Between the first quarter of last year and the same timeframe this year, the number of EV/PHEV registrations in China rose by nearly 750%. However, the report says these vehicles continue to represent a very small percentage of the overall market in China – just 0.3%, indicating that further incentives may need to be considered to increase consumer acceptance. The most popular plug-in vehicle in Q1'15 in China is the BYD Qin PHEV.
The U.K. report notes that the U.K. also had impressive growth of 392% for plug-in vehicles between Q1'14 and Q1'15.
However, the report says other countries do not offer the same advantages for consumers. For example, in Germany, there aren't many appealing incentives for consumers to make EV/PHEVs a compelling alternative to ICE vehicles. Although plug-in vehicle registrations in Germany increased by 98% between Q1'14 and Q1'15, the increase comes from a small base.
Many of the plug-in vehicles registered in Germany during the timeframe were electrified variants on traditional ICE models. Popular vehicles include the Volkswagen Golf GTE PHEV and Audi A3 PHEV. The report says Germany is considering further incentives on plug-in electric vehicles to support future adoption.
Interestingly, the report says, France had similar growth to Germany over the same period, yet the country offers more incentives on plug-in electric vehicles. This is an example of incentives not having the desired effect to catalyze the uptake of these types of vehicle, according to IHS.
Lastly, Japan is the only country to have a negative year-over-year percentage change. The report says this is likely due to some EV incentives ending between this period and Japanese consumer preference toward HEVs (hybrid electric vehicles without a plug) over PHEVs.