With the year coming to a close and the news cycle drying up, it’s time to look back on the past 12 months and analyze the state of things.
That’s what InsideEVs decided to do with a list of the top countries for electric cars. While a multiple of 5 is usually considered mandatory for these kinds of things, a tie for fifth place made this a “5+1” list.
The criteria included sales (both in terms of market volume and market share), development of infrastructure, manufacturing, and the use of electric power for buses and other forms of public transit.
So which country was deemed the best for electric cars?
That would be the good ‘ole U.S. of A. While electric cars don’t represent as large a share of overall new-car sales as they do in some other countries, more are sold here than anywhere else. The U.S. is also home to Tesla Motors, which continues to expand its Supercharger network of DC fast-charging stations, and will build its massive battery “Gigafactory” in Nevada.
The runner up was Norway, which is considered by many to be the friendliest place in the world for electric cars. It has the highest electric-car market share of any country, thanks to generous government incentives and a population centered around the capital of Oslo, making range anxiety less of an issue.
China was ranked third. Its government is aggressively promoting electric cars from local manufacturers as a way to cut pollution and stimulate domestic technology development. Air quality has gotten so bad, in fact, that certain cities are limiting new-car registrations. Carmaker BYD (Build Your Dreams) is also exporting electric cars and buses on a limited basis.
Next up is Japan. It may be home to Mitsubishi and Nissan – the first two carmakers to bring modern all-electric cars to the mainstream – but the country is in the midst of a policy split as Honda and Toyota aggressively promote hydrogen fuel cells. Nonetheless, consistently strong electric car sales make Japan a major player.
Germany and France tied for fifth place. France has been one of the most consistent promoters of electric cars over the years, with multiple electric Renault models and the Autolib’ car-sharing service among the most visible aspects of that policy.
On the other hand, Germany has only recent begun showing enthusiasm. It’s considering incentives for electric cars, and automakers BMW and Volkswagen have become strong proponents of electrification. Cars like the i3 and e-Golf will likely grow sales in the country from here on out.
So that’s what the electric-car landscape looks like at the end of 2014. Who knows what 2015 has in store.