Increasing the Competitiveness of E-vehicles in Europe

Increasing the Competitiveness of E-vehicles in Europe

Nominated for The Planning for Sustainable Land Use and Transport Award


Nils Fearnley, Institute of Transport Economics, Farideh Ramjerdi, Institute of Transport Economics, Paul Pfaffenbichler, Vienna University of Technology


This paper presents incentives towards electric vehicles across Europe and analyses the effects of such incentives on 1) the take-up and use in the markets, and 2) on public finances.


[Note that this paper has more authors than the three that were possible to list in the abstract submission portal. The full list of authors is as follows: Erik Figenbaum, Institute of Transport Economics (Norway); Nils Fearnley, Institute of Transport Economics (Norway); Farideh Ramjerdi, Institute of Transport Economics (Norway); Paul Pfaffenbichler, Vienna University of Technology (Austria); Randi Hjorthol, Institute of Transport Economics (Norway); Bettina Emmerling, Austrian Energy Agency (Austria); Reinhard Jellinek, Austrian Energy Agency (Austria); Lykke Møller Iversen, The Danish Road Directorate (Denmark); G.Maarten Bonnema, Buskerud and Vestfold University College (Norway) and University of Twente (the Netherlands); Marika Kolbenstvedt, Institute of Transport Economics (Norway)]

The 2011 EU White Paper on Transport sets ambitious goals for phasing out conventionally fuelled cars in cities. Take-up and expansion of electric vehicles (e-vehicles, or electromobility) are one way to achieve this, as proposed by, i.a., the European Green Cars Initiative, the EU Action Plan on Urban Mobility, European alternative fuels strategy, and so on.

This paper discusses incentives for the take-up and use of e-vehicles that are in place in different European countries. Especially, it analyses Norway and Austria, in order to establish and understand factors influencing the competitiveness of e-vehicles and potential market penetration. Norway currently enjoys the world’s largest take-up of electric cars per capita, achieved through a package of incentives, which includes reductions in the cost differences between conventional vehicles and e-vehicles, preferential treatment with respect to parking, road charging exceptions, access to bus lanes, and a strategy for charging stations supported by the government. Austria, on the other hand, has used the concept of Model Regions with government support to stimulate market introduction. So far, this has been a less effective approach.

The analysis includes socio-economic factors as well as convenience and time savings. It describes a system dynamics model framework and how it can be established and calibrated to replicate real e-vehicle markets and used to show how different elements of a government strategy will contribute to the uptake of e-vehicles.

The loss of different tax revenues on fossil fuels, caused by market uptake of non-fossil fuels, is a central concern to several European governments. The fiscal effects are non-trivial –especially in the longer run. In times of constrained public budgets, the cost of lifting new technologies into the market is strenuous and increased expenditure and/or drop in tax revenues must be recouped. We point to the importance of a strategy for the phasing out of policies.


Association for European Transport