A new report from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) shows quite clearly the huge differences in EV incentives around the globe. And also the pronounced differences in the effectiveness of some of the programs.
From sales-tax exemptions, to purchase rebates, to income-tax credits, to free-parking, it seems like good incentives for EV adoption can be found nearly everywhere nowadays — but which of these are the most effective?
That’s part of what the new report set out to find, but it’s a hard question to answer. One thing very clear in the report, though, is that a combination of many different incentives seems to be the most effective, as is clearly visible in strong EV markets like Norway and the Netherlands.
While total plug-in vehicle sales growth worldwide has been quite substantial in recent years (sales in 2013 were near double those of 2012, which were double those of 2011), much of that growth has been limited to the markets that have the strongest incentives. For instance, the previously mentioned EV haven of Norway. With the large tax breaks available in the country, it’s quite often cheaper to buy an EV than it is to buy a gas-powered car — which would on its own be enough to influence most buyers, but then there are also a number of other good incentives available — parking and roadway perks mostly — making the big EV sales in the Northern European country make a ton of sense.
In 2013, plug-in vehicles made up 6% of Norway’s total vehicle sales — a number that will very likely climb in 2014. The Netherlands is right in the same league, with plug-in vehicles representing 5.6% of total vehicle-sales. California is as well, with plug-in vehicles making up 4% of total vehicle sales last year. All these regions utilize a varied combination of incentives.
Contrast this with a country like Germany, where the incentives on offer just aren’t that substantial and EV sales are quite weak.
Of course there are also markets where incentives are quite good but sales still aren’t that great, like the UK.
There, plug-in cars account for only 0.2% of total vehicle sales. That’s despite a strong £5,000 subsidy (almost $8,500, at current exchange rates) per vehicle, exemption from the country’s CO2-based vehicle taxation system, and exemption from London’s CO2-based congestion charge scheme.
But, generally speaking, the findings of the report are that strong, varied incentives support sales quite well, but that they need to be well suited to their particular market.
For example, in countries with relatively high sales tax and vehicle registration fees (the Netherlands), exemptions from these fees can be strong sales drivers. Or in regions with substantial traffic problems (like LA), access to carpool lanes can be.
For more information on the reasons behind the high-demand in Norway, see our previous coverage that discusses the tax-breaks on offer, the road privileges, the free parking; the high taxes on gasmobiles; actual EV user findings on the top incentives; the highly developed charging infrastructure; and the opinion of Nissan’s head of corporate planning for Europe.
And for the most recent information on the fast-growing market — which saw nearly 1500 EVs sold just in a march — see: Norway’s Insane March Plug-in Car Sales
EV Incentives Effective, Especially When Diverse was originally published on EV Obsession.
A smart EV charging trial is apparently underway in London. The special software being used allows for the operator in charge to briefly suspend EV charging if electricity demand on the grid gets up to a concerning peak level. That said, “the smart control system is designed to have no noticeable impact on those using the charge points.” Here are more details from a UK Power Networks press release:
A smart new system for charging electric vehicles is being tested in London to help get the electricity network ready for widespread use of electric vehicles.
If and when electricity starts replacing petrol and diesel as a main fuel source for transport, smart systems will be needed to prevent the electricity system being overloaded by colossal extra demand, or having to re-equip substations and dig up busy roads to lay new cables.
London’s electricity distributor UK Power Networks is working on the Low Carbon London trial with POD Point, Smarter Grid Solutions and Imperial College London.
Between December and April, the companies are testing POD Point’s new Carbon Sync software and Smarter Grid Solutions’ ‘active network management’ system to briefly suspend the flow of electricity to selected public EV charge points at peak times on the network, while still ensuring drivers receive a sufficient level of charge.
Three sites have been selected for the trial, including five public charge points in the City, ten in Beckton and 50 of the most popular points in London. The smart control system is designed to have no noticeable impact on those using the charge points.
Michael Clark, Low Carbon London programme director, said: “Success in these trials could reduce the cost and disruption associated with building new power infrastructure to support the expansion of EV charging systems, benefiting consumers across the country. We believe this is the first trial of ‘active network management’ involving electric vehicles in Britain.”
Alan Gooding, Commercial Director and Co-Founder, Smarter Grid Solutions, said: “Active Network Management is already proven as a highly effective way of connecting larger volumes of distributed energy, such as solar, wind and CHP, to congested electricity networks. This new trial is a great opportunity to demonstrate that the technique can also help electricity network operators to accommodate other features of a low carbon economy, such as electric vehicle use.”
Erik Fairbairn, CEO of POD Point, said: “Adding electric car charging facilities will require close monitoring to ensure that drivers are supplied with the electricity they need without potentially overloading the electricity network. The software used in this trial monitors in real time the demand, the status of all charge points in the network, and the level of charge required by each car in real time. This information is fed into a control algorithm which carefully manages the charge point to ensure the driver gets a full charge without exceeding local capacity.”
The Government’s Carbon Plan pledges to source ten per cent of UK transport energy from renewable sources by 2020. Without smart controls on the electricity network, estimates suggest a 25 per cent uptake of EVs by 2030 could lead to half the transformers closest to homes or businesses needing an upgrade, potentially increasing the cost of new EV infrastructure.
This is the challenge the new trial is aiming to address. The new software will provide live data showing electricity demand from a cluster of charge points and how much demand could be reduced, if curtailed. Interruptions to the EV charging are designed to have no noticeable effect on those using the charge points. In addition, by monitoring the state and rate of charge, the system will not interrupt charging to cars that need it most. Data collected during the trials will be extrapolated by Imperial College London to model the impact on London’s electricity cables and substations in various scenarios.
Photo Credit: waldopepper / Foter / CC BY-NC
1st Smart Electric Vehicle Charging Trial Launched In London was originally published on EV Obsession.