Technology 5 min read

Three Countries Driving the Electric Car Revolution

2019 will be a revolutionary year for electric cars. Here we go through the three most influential nations that are making the most of the EV revolution.

Electric cars are no longer a pipedream. Here are three nations making sure a full EV future becomes a reality. | Image By ALDECAstock | Shutterstock

Electric cars are no longer a pipedream. Here are three nations making sure a full EV future becomes a reality. | Image By ALDECAstock | Shutterstock

When it comes to public adoption, government policy may be a bigger roadblock in front of electric cars than the technology itself.

In 2017, there were over 3 million electric vehicles in use around the world, with the number expected to soar to 125 million by 2030.

Along with falling battery prices, IEA’s Global Electric Vehicles Outlook 2018 report puts government policy as the main spur to this growth.

“Should policy ambitions rise even further to meet climate goals and other sustainability targets, as in the EV30@30 Scenario, the number of electric cars on the road could be as high as 220 million in 2030.”

Although an impressive figure, the models also predict about 2 billion fossil fuel-powered vehicles on the road at that time.

So there’s really a long way to go before we can electrify the whole global fleet, but the EV revolution is already here.

Some nations have done more than others to push the EV Revolution further, while others lag behind. Here, we explore the three biggest nations contributing to an EV future.

Read More: Why Electric School Buses are More Important Than you Think

Oil-Rich Norway Leads the World’s EV Revolution

The global EV fleet saw the arrival of 1.2 million new units in 2018, of which about 62,000 were sold in Norway.

At first glance, this number looks pretty small to earn Norway the first spot on our list. That’s especially compared to the top two EV markets, China (579,000) or the USA (198,000).

But, if we look at market share, that’s over 39 percent of all vehicles sold.

In 2017, pure electric and hybrid plug-in vehicles accounted for more than half the new registrations in Norway.

The Norwegian parliament set a quite ambitious and challenging target for 2025. At a minimum, all new vehicles in Norway should have zero emissions.

To achieve its goal of a 100 percent electric fleet, Norway introduced a number of incentives like subsidized electricity charging, free parking, and other tax exemptions.

Costa Rica Getting Even Greener With Electric Cars

In 2016, and for 250 days in a row, Costa Rica ran entirely on clean energy, a record for the country and a unique case in the world.

For a country that draws over 98 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, Costa Rica has all the right to boast about its world renewable champion status.

However, there is some “dirt” to Costa Rica’s clean energy picture — Costa Rica has practically no electric cars on its roads.

In fact, of the 1.4 million private vehicles, only 600 are electric.

But more than anything, this number highlights the rising trend of electric cars in the country.

For Bernal Munoz, a director at the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE), that 600 EVs is in itself progress as it’s double the number of EVs bought in 2017.

“We have studies done by the University of Costa Rica with mathematical models that say the growth rate will continue,” said Munoz, “In five years, there could be 40,000 electric vehicles.”

To set the example, ICE replaced 100 fossil fuel-powered vehicles with electric ones.

The state-owned postal service also followed suit with 30 electric motorcycles for its employees.

What these initiatives show for the public is that adopting electric cars works just as fine in a mountainous and volcanic country like Costa Rica.

Japan, EV First Adopter

Japan is the home of the Toyota Prius, the most popular gas-electric hybrid car that kicked off an entirely new sector the industry.

With its history with electric cars going back to the late 1940s, Japan is one of the first nations to adopt EVs as a way to improve its energy security.

In the mid-1990s, Japan was also one of the first countries to think about incentive programs to push the development of electric vehicles.

Another area where Japan leads is charging infrastructure. With over 40,000 EV charging points, and only 34,000 gas stations, Japan is well ahead of the EV curve.

For comparison, there are a little over 14,000 electric vehicle charging points in the U.S.

Other than government policy and supportive infrastructure, there’s also the automotive industry to thank for Japan’s EV adoption.

The central government and leading Japanese automakers like Toyota, Nissan, and Honda have committed to making only all-electric and hybrid passenger cars by 2050.

Some criticized the less than ambitious target of Japanese automakers, compared for example to Volvo, which will make a 100 percent shift to EV next year.

In this regard, Japan might be looking to fulfill its environmental agenda without causing its auto industry to lose its edge.

Leading the Charge

Adopting a sustainable electronic vehicle could be one of the easiest ways for the average consumer to significantly reduce their carbon footprint. However, it’s hard to do so when the infrastructure isn’t available in your country.

Now is the time for nations to begin adopting EVs in a more aggressive and progressive nature. If not for environmental reasons, then for financial reasons.

With nations like Norway, Costa Rica, and Japan leading as an example, there is no reason why other countries can’t follow suit with their own EV programs.

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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    John Usrey April 06 at 9:37 am GMT

    Hybrid electric cars mean zero emission. How about the battery? Is new, greener technology been used for EV’s batteries?

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