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Norway continues to lead global electric vehicle market

That’s the finding of the new IHS Automotive Plug-in Electric Vehicle Index, which ranks the market share of plug-in electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle registrations in a given quarter for eight countries.

With EV/PHEVs representing one third of new vehicles registered in Norway during the first quarter of this year, 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. Key factors include no import taxes on EVs, among other incentives. 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.

The US 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. 

However, market share for EV/PHEVs in the US remains low, with these vehicles accounting for just 0.8% of the market during the quarter, according to IHS.  Based on volume, the most popular EV/PHEV in the U.S. is the Tesla Model S.

The firm added that adoption of these vehicles in the US has been uneven, as consumer consideration and choice has skewed in favour of states offering additional incentives, like the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project in California or Georgia’s Zero Emission Vehicle Tax Credit. 

In China, government incentives available support EV and PHEV ownership. Between the first quarter last year and the same timeframe this year, the number of EV/PHEV registrations in China rose by nearly 750%. However, these vehicles continue to represent a very small percentage of the overall market in China – just .3%, indicating that further incentives may need to be considered to increase consumer acceptance. The most popular plug-in vehicle in Q1 2015 in China is the BYD Qin PHEV.

The United Kingdom also had impressive growth of 392% for plug-in vehicles between Q1 2014 and Q1 2015.

And plug-in vehicle registrations in Germany increased by 98% between Q1 2014 and Q1 2015, although IHS added that the increase comes from a small base as not many incentives are offered. 

Many of the plug-in vehicles registered in Germany during the timeframe were electrified variants on traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) models.  Popular vehicles include the Volkswagen Golf GTE PHEV and Audi A3 PHEV. Germany is considering further incentives on plug-in electric vehicles to support future adoption. Interestingly, France had similar growth to Germany over the same period, yet 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. 

Japan was the only country to have a negative year-on-year percentage change. This is likely due to some EV incentives ending between this period and Japanese consumer preference towards HEVs (hybrid electric vehicles without a plug) over PHEVs.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news - or gossip.

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