What can we learn from Sweden about EV adoption?

 In EV Industry

What can we learn from Sweden about EV adoption? Saying that we can grasp a little would be a huge understatement! With all the taxations incentives, innovative electric vehicle solutions and breakthrough technology, Sweden is by far among the world leaders in EV adoption.

From 2011 to December 2017, a total of 50,304 plug-in vehicles have been registered in Sweden. But here is the number that would make Elon Musk’s heart smile. By the year 2030, this Scandinavian country is committed to having a 100% fossil fuel-free vehicle fleet.

But before we go there, let’s take a quick historical detour to find out where the electric vehicle technology comes from and where it’s going.

A quick historical detour of the EV industry

Electric Vehicles have been around way before Tesla days or even the Ford era. The first attempts of creating the electric car (or should we say a motorized carriage) were made back in 1830 by Scottish inventor Robert Anderson. This unsuccessful undertaking started a series of breakthrough EV inventions.

In fact, by early 1900, electric cars were so popular, that they were accounted for a one-third of all the New York fleet. People loved those automobiles mainly because electro cars were able to outperform most of the gasoline-powered vehicles.

However, because of the inexpensive gasoline abundance, electric vehicle development slowed down dramatically, and there was not much happening in the world of EVs up until the Arab Oil Embargo happened. In a search for solutions to save money at the pump, the biggest automotive giants like General Motors were developing EV prototypes. However, vehicles produced over that time still were outperformed by their gasoline-powered counterparts.

Ever since the first Tesla Roadster rocked the market in 2008, EV popularity has steadily increased. According to the Global Electric Vehicle Market Outlook 2018, global annual EV sales will go up from 1.2 million in 2017 to an estimated impressive 2 million in 2019.

And little Sweden makes up impressive 3.4% of global EV market share. This Northern country takes the world of electric cars by storm. So what can we learn from Sweden about EV adoption?

Incentives matter

Swedes have an ambitious goal to transition away from fossil fuel cars fast. Therefore they take incentives seriously. In Sweden, they offer all kind of bonuses for EV owners, including free parking in some public places and free access to HOV and bus lanes. However, the biggest gamechanger for Sweden regarding EV adoption was, of course, a vast plug-in vehicles tax rebate.

The Government of Sweden has recently proposed new taxation policies that are expected to boost EV sales dramatically. According to the proposed taxation scheme, regular petrol vehicles will receive increased taxation, and plug-in vehicles, on the other hand,  will get an increased bonus. Stick-and-carrot method in action.

The main idea behind this taxation system is to make people want to own environmentally friendly vehicles with lower CO2 emissions.

According to EV-Volumes, owners of the plug-in zero-emission cars will get the bonus as high as SEK 60,000. In other words, if you are purchasing a Nissan Leaf (or any other fully electric vehicle), you can save approximately $6,700.

Not only does Sweden offer taxation incentives on electric cars, but you can also get a 25% rebate if you buy an electric bike, quadricycle or tricycle. This way, the government tries to kill two birds with one stone: boosting EV sales and reducing CO2 emissions.

Innovations are worth investing in

Lesson number två (that’s us casually practicing Swedish here) is to invest in innovations. Sweden is known for always giving the world a glimpse of a future, and the EV industry is no exception.

In fact, one of the most anticipated Swedish EV innovations is about to hit the road in 2019. The name of this breakthrough car is Uniti and, according to the manufacturer, it is built to redefine urban mobility. And we must admit, this little car is very lovable.  In fact, people liked the idea of compact city electric car so much, that Uniti raised $580,000 from crowdfunding in the first two days. Since the Uniti is so compact, it is very environmentally-efficient. And don’t you be fooled by its size, as this vehicle has instant torque to take it from 0 to 80 km in 3.5 seconds.

But what makes this little vehicle truly unique is the price tag that it comes with. You can get Uniti for as little as €14,900 (~$22,800). Deduct a bonus tax and the electricity bonus (Uniti owners will not have to pay for electricity to charge the car for the first five years), and you get yourself an excellent deal.

And while some EV fans are anticipating Uniti, other have been raving about car-charging roads.

Finding a charger in a city can sometimes still be a challenge, but in the next few years, the Swedes plan to build a road that will be charging electric cars as they go. The road would work on the principle of slot car tracks – it has a rail embedded in the middle. Then the connector from the e-car goes into the track and voila – you can drive and charge at the same time. 

So let’s wrap it up! Here is the Swedish recipe of a successful EV adoption process. Take a car market, add some well-designed tax policies and incentives, then mix them carefully with investments, spice it up with innovations and bake until the car market is entirely emission-fee. Wow, that’s the recipe that we would enjoy! Thank you, Sweden!

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