With the arrival of the Chevy Bolt and the long waiting list for the forthcoming Tesla 3, there is starting to be some momentum for electric cars in the United States. But we are still well behind Europe in terms of the significant growth of so-called e-mobility.
As a result of ambitious emissions-reduction targets, strong government and industry support, and technology advances, Europe seems poised for a major expansion of electric cars and 2017 may be a crucial breakout year.
Norway – admittedly a lightly-populated country – has been at the cutting edge of electromobility for a long time. It has the highest per-capital number of all-electric cars in the world. There are nearly 100,000 of them in a country of only 5 million people. Last year, nearly 40% of all new passenger cars were electric.
Norway just opened the world’s largest fast-charging station with the capability of charging up to 28 vehicles in half an hour. Norway and the Netherlands both intend to phase out all fossil fuel-powered automobiles by 2025.
In total, Europe has about 500,000 electric vehicles. China, with its enormous population, leads the world with about 600,000. The U.S. has a little less than 500,000, but if Tesla can deliver on the estimated 400,000 orders for the Tesla 3 that are in hand, that number could change quickly.
There are several reasons to expect the expansion of electric vehicles to accelerate over time. Countries are adopting more aggressive emission reduction targets. Battery prices are dropping dramatically and charging technology is improving allowing vehicles to charge much more quickly than previously. This time around, electric cars may really be here to stay.
Photo, posted March 31, 2013, courtesy of Hakan Dahlstrom via Flickr.