The Netherlands, Norway and the UK have all retained their status as the top three most prepared countries for an electric vehicle (EV) revolution across Europe, according to LeasePlan’s 2021 EV Readiness Index.

The index, which presents an analysis of the preparedness of all 22 European countries for the societal transition to EVs, revealed that almost all countries showed an improvement when compared with the previous year.

However, progress was mixed as countries such as Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic received the lowest scores whilst also showing very slow signs of improvement.

Measurable against three variables: EV registrations, the maturity of EV infrastructure, and government incentives in each country, the index highlights the continued inter-country inconsistency in EV readiness.

Previously a major hurdle for consumers, the premium price tag of EVs is diminishing and the electric models are already cheaper than their ICE counterparts across 11 countries, on a total cost of ownership basis.

EV drivers also pay 63% less tax than ICE drivers on average, whilst in Austria, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Poland and the UK, EV drivers pay no tax at all.

As EVs becomes increasingly accessible from a cost perspective, the issue of charging infrastructure has taken its place as the major hurdle for widespread EV adoption. The 2021 Readiness Index found that the rate of progress in 2020 fell by 30% when compared to the previous year. This inadequacy applies to all countries across the study.

Tex Gunning, chief executive of LeasePlan, said: “Our EV Readiness Index shows that while electric driving is more affordable than ever across Europe, public charging infrastructure is still woefully lacking.

“In opinion polling done earlier this year, we already saw that lack of charging infrastructure was a major roadblock stopping drivers from going electric – and the analysis in our EV Readiness Index proves these fears are well founded.”

In the UK, the first electric forecourt was established in December, representing a breakthrough in the delivery of the necessary infrastructure for a successful electric mobility industry within the UK.

However, Gunning believes the pace of improvement simply is not fast enough. He said: “Leaders and policymakers in every single one of the 22 countries in this Index need to step up and invest in a universal, affordable and sustainable charging infrastructure before it’s too late – the climate emergency can’t wait.”