13,896 new battery-powered vehicles hit the Nordic roads in the first quarter of 2016. Where Norway and Finland saw their best-selling quarter-to-date, the sales in Denmark have stalled.
Sales of battery-powered vehicles in the Nordic countries are off to a good start in 2016. This is apparent from the recently published edition of the industry publication Insero Quarterly, which presents the latest development in the sales of battery-powered vehicles in the Nordic countries. Particularly PHEVs (plug-in electric vehicle hybrids) have seen an increase in sales and are fast approaching the total sales of EVs (electric vehicles).
"The market for EVs is still in its infancy. It takes some getting used to to switch from gasoline to electricity, and at the same time the range of new EVs remain limited, providing excellent conditions for PHEVs as a transitional technology. In the first quarter of 2016, PHEVs accounted for 45.7% of the total sales of battery-powered vehicles in the Nordic countries, and we expect a significant increase in the coming years - until the market for EVs has matured sufficiently", explains Søren Bernt Lindegaard, consultant at Insero.
In total, 6,355 PHEVs and 7,541 EVs were sold in the first quarter of 2016 across the Nordic countries. Where EVs rely on a battery and an electric motor, PHEVs also has a gasoline engine, making them capable of running on both electricity and gasoline.
Denmark is falling behind
Where Norway, Finland and partly Sweden has experienced an increase in sales, the introduction of taxes on electric cars has stalled the Danish market – even despite the fact that sales of PHEVs are keeping pace with previous quarters.
"The gradual introduction of EVs into the normal tax system in Denmark has - as expected - had a significant impact on sales. Where we saw 1,185 new battery-powered vehicles on average per quarter in 2015, we have only seen 242 new vehicles on the roads so far in 2016”, explains Søren Bernt Lindegaard.
A gradual introduction means that new EV buyers will be charged 20% of the registration tax in 2016, followed by 40%, 65% and 90% in the subsequent years. In 2020, it is expected that the tax will be fully implemented.
“Besides falling behind the other Nordic countries in terms of an EV rollout, the stagnant sales of EVs in Denmark also makes Denmark less capable of exploiting the large amount of renewable energy produced from e.g. wind turbines. EVs are ideal for the purpose, but it requires better framework conditions to exploit the full potential”, says Søren Bernt Lindegaard.
Norway remains in the driver's seat
With sales surpassing 10.000 battery-powered cars and representing one third of all sold cars in Norway during the quarter, the Norwegian advancement on the EV and PHEV market has continued at undeterred pace in the first months of 2016.
"Norway shows how quickly public opinion can be influenced through a determined effort by politicians. Critics will argue that the success of EVs in Norway is a matter of unfair subsidies, and economy is certainly an important factor. However, it does not explain the large sale of PHEVs, which does not share the same benefits as the EVs. Insero expects the strong growth to continue on the Norwegian market", explains Søren Bernt Lindegaard.
Likewise, Finland has experienced an impressive beginning to 2016 with 390 sold electric vehicles – their best quarter to date.
Insero Quarterly: The latest market insights every quarter
Are you interested in staying up to date with the development in the Nordic EV and PHEV market via the latest sales statistics and the newest trends? Sign up for a free subscription to the industry publication Insero Quarterly and have it sent directly to your inbox. You can also receive the publication by contacting Jens Christian Morell Lodberg Høj.