White paper

Analyzing policies to grow the electric vehicle market in European cities

National and local-level actions to support electric vehicle deployment vary across European countries. This paper assesses electric vehicle uptake and policies for 15 metropolitan areas: Amsterdam, Berlin, Birmingham, Brussels, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Helsinki, London, Madrid, Oslo, Paris, Rotterdam-The Hague, Stockholm, Vienna, and Zurich. The analysis focuses on the effects of incentives, charging infrastructure, and model availability on electric vehicle uptake.

Most high electric vehicle-uptake markets have adopted policies addressing the prevailing consumer barriers of affordability, convenience, and awareness. London, Oslo, and Stockholm have implemented at least 15 promotions actions each across city and national levels. Key action areas include financial incentives to bridge the cost gap between electric and conventional cars; programs to deploy charging infrastructure; and information campaigns to raise awareness and increase visibility regarding available electric vehicles and their benefits.

National and local one-time purchase subsidies and annual national tax breaks on vehicle registration and operation are common where electric shares are high—for example in Amsterdam, Oslo, and Rotterdam-The Hague. In contrast, markets which have largely not addressed cost barriers on car purchase or annual ownership tax, such as Brussels and Madrid, typically see slower electric uptake. Additional policies such as discounts or exemptions on parking fees or parking permits, charging an electric vehicle, road tolls, and congestion charges can be powerful instruments at the local level to supplement national policies to provide further cost advantages for electric vehicle drivers.

Amsterdam, Oslo, Stockholm, and Rotterdam-The Hague have built up dense networks of public charge points. In addition, they have different local and national programs in place that support home and workplace charging. In markets such as Hamburg and Copenhagen with a dense network of public charging infrastructure but a slower electric vehicle uptake, additional local policies to support home, workplace and curbside charging infrastructure may be needed, especially as the market broadens to those without dedicated home charging.

Electric vehicle share of new registrations in major European metropolitan areas.
Electric vehicle share of new registrations in major European metropolitan areas.