Incentives fail to boost electric vehicle sales in Europe

JATO Dynamics, a UK-based supplier of "automotive intelligence," reports that government subsidies and other monetary incentives have not significantly boosted plug-in vehicle sales in Europe.

JATO's research suggests that price has only a minute impact on the decision to buy a plug-in vehicle and points to Germany, Europe's leading plug-in nation, as a prime example this. According to JATO, sales of plug-in vehicles hit 1,020 units in Germany in the first half of 2011. That number of units sold puts Germany in first place in Europe, even though the country offers one of the region's lowest electric vehicle subsidies – a mere 380 euros ($516 U.S. at today's exchange rate).

On the flip side is Denmark, a nation that offers tax incentives of up to 20,588 euros ($27,956 U.S.) for the purchase of electric vehicles. However, electric vehicle sales in Denmark rang in at only 283 units in the first half of 2011. The number of people in each country plays a role here, but you would think 20,000 euros would move more units.

Gareth Hession, JATO's head of research, states:
It's reasonable to conclude that sales are more affected by other factors such as the degree of urban geography, market maturity and charging infrastructure than was previously thought. Local factors include the ability to use bus lanes and free city-center parking in Oslo and exemption from London's congestion charge, both of which appear to be more influential than point-of-purchase incentives.
A full rundown of electric vehicle sales in Europe in the first half of 2011, including subsidies offered by individual countries, is pasted after the jump.
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European EV sales (first half 2011)

Subsidies in brackets in euros*

1. Germany - 1,020 (380)
2. France - 953 (5,000)
3. Norway - 850 (17,524)
4. UK - 599 (6,400)
5. Austria - 347 (2,571)
6. Denmark - 283 (20,588)
7. Netherlands - 269 (4,936)
8. Spain - 122 (6,500)
9. Sweden - 111 (470)
10. Italy - 103 (1,200)
11. Portugal - 93 (9,442)
12. Belgium - 85 (10,907)
13. Czech - 43 (271)
14. Ireland - 36 (5,000)
15. Romania - 2 (3,700)

Total - 5,222

*Subsidies are maximum allowed in each market. Company car sales are excluded.

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