Comparing Global EV Sales and Infrastructure

What the U.S. Can Learn From Norway, China, and the Rest of the Developed World

By Anastasia Shubareva

JERSEY CITY, NJMAY 7, 2019It might have taken some time to get the wheels rolling, but in 2019, it’s clear that Electric Vehicles (EVs) are here to stay and are rapidly becoming part of communities throughout the world.

Even though sceptics still verbalize their range anxiety and their disapproval over high EV purchase costs (even though EVs are actually cheaper than gasoline powered cars in the long term), EV sales have been rapidly increasing in the past decade. In 2018 alone, global plug-in vehicle deliveries reached 2.1 million units, accounting for an astonishing 64% increase from 2017. Breaking this number down by countries it becomes clear that China is driving the majority of global sales, contributing to over 56% of all EV sales in 2018.

Source: EV

Norway Leading The Way
Looking at Europe as the second largest EV sales market, the micro perspective identifies one top performing country in particular: Norway. In 2018, one-third of all passenger vehicles were powered by electricity and in 2019 Norway broke a new record by outselling fossil fuel-powered vehicles for the first time in history. Therefore, it might be not surprising that even the EV market giant China is not able to compete with Norway when looking at EVs as a percentage of total vehicles sold in a country.

Source: Visual Capitalist

Even though the EV adoption efforts of Scandinavian countries are astonishing, even combined, Scandinavians only account for 0.5% of the global population. So what is the biggest obstacle that other countries must overcome to achieve similar results in higher-populated communities? According to Mc Kinsey’s 2016 EV consumer survey potential buyers in China, Germany, and the United States ranked the lack of access to charging stations among the top 3 factors keeping them back from making the switch to EVs.

Similar Results In EV Infrastructure Adaptation
Similarly to EV sales China, is also leading in this category by not only having the highest quantity of chargers but also the newest technology allowing EV drivers to charge their vehicles in a record amount of time.

Source: Visual Capitalist

In the United States, charging station infrastructure is currently rolling out disproportionately throughout the country, where it is primarily regulated on a state-level. States like California are therefore deploying high numbers of charging stations, driven by the state’s commitment to sustainability, which in return leads to higher EV sales.

Important to mention is also Japan: ranking within the top 5 countries with the highest amount of charging stations, it recently achieved a historic high by having more EV charging stations than petrol stations. To take the country comparison even further, a recent study by Go Compare analyzed the accessibility of charging stations by ranking countries based on the amount of publicly available charging points per 100km (62 miles) of road network.

Source: Inside EVs

Government Incentives Are Biggest Progress Driver
Looking into the future, there are clearly some lessons to be learned from countries embracing EV technology at a faster rate. Apart from strong regulatory and fiscal policies, governmental programs have been driving EV adoption by incentivising businesses and individuals to invest in an electricity-powered future.

Top-performer Norway, for instance, created generous tax subsidies for EV owners, exempting EVs from acquisition tax and tolls and granting privileges such as free parking spaces and ferry rides. Other European countries such as the United Kingdom enforced governmental strategies for electrification aiming to end the sale of fossil-powered vehicles by 2040.

Similarly, China announced its New Energy Vehicle (NEV) mandate in 2017, aiming to ban vehicles with traditional internal combustion engines over the long term while planning to sell 4.6 million electric vehicles by 2020.

Going forward, it will therefore be vital to create a consensus between governments, states, and car manufacturers worldwide to create incentives for EV purchase while building out easily accessible charging station infrastructures.

This article is sponsored by Greenspot Smart Mobility, an industry-leading smart mobility provider operating in four states and two countries. Greenspot has been awarded for its efforts to improve air quality, reduce asthma rates, and lower the spreading of harmful greenhouse gas emissions. To learn more about Greenspot Smart Mobility and its solutions for municipalities, businesses, and drivers, please visit Greenspot’s website or email their Business Development Manager, Rosie Lenoff, at

Greenspot’s mission is to enable the rapid adoption of electric vehicles and shared electric mobility, reducing car ownership and improving community health.

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