Government incentives appear to have little affect on sales of electric vehicles, according to a new study by JATO Dynamics.
 
Demand for electric vehicles increased ten-fold to 5,220 across Europe in the first half of this year compared to the 500 registered in the same period last year, says the research company.

Germany, where incentives amount to around EUR380 per vehicle, is the leading EV market with January-June registrations of around 1,000. Denmark has incentives which amount to some EUR20,600 over five years of ownership but registered fewer than 300 EVs in the same period.

And where incentives are similar – such as Spain and the UK at around EUR6,500 per vehicle – there is a wide gap between registrations. The UK registered 599 EVs and Spain 122.
 
Gareth Hession, JATO’s vice president for research, said: “The discrepancies highlight the apparently low influence of price on purchase decisions across the region. Given this, 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.”
 
Other factors that are thought to influence EV ownership are the rights to use bus lanes and free city centre parking (in Oslo) and exemption from congestion charges (in London for example).

Europe’s biggest EV markets in the first half of this year after Germany were France (950 units), Norway (850), the UK (600), Austria (350) and Denmark (280). Spain (120) and Italy (100) were at the bottom of the table.

But Hession believes the EV market is set for significant growth, adding, “As the market matures we might expect subsidies to exert greater influence as other considerations such as charging infrastructure are addressed. As it stands today, even the large subsidies don’t address the majority of end user concerns around real world application, flexibility and fitness for purpose.

“It will be critical for manufacturers to better understand these factors if they are to maximise customer engagement and sales growth.”