I haven’t been able to find statistics on which country has the most. This may be because Europe is just on the verge of a major push for electric car use.
The continent is in the midst of addressing the industry’s infrastructure needs. For instance, in June, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association settled on standards for the charging systems’ plugs and sockets. Meanwhile, different countries are planning financial incentives and infrastructure investment to boost electric car use.
This is a tough question to answer in sheer numbers, but to add to danielpare’s answer about Europe’s EV take-off, here are a few things that may help contribute to an understanding of the market:
There are considerable Electric Vehicle Networks throughout Europe, which means that people have public places to charge their battery or swap it for a new one. Wikipedia cites Germany as having the most currently functional EVN stations, at 300 Park and Charge stations throughout the country, and more than 300 additional various types of stations throughout Germany and Berlin. This may imply that since Germany has the most public charging stations, it may also have the highest volume of electric vehicles today.
However, it seems as if the United Kingdom (London specifically), the Netherlands and France are the most ambitious in their future planning for electric vehicles. In April of this year, the London Transport committee allocated $150 million to fund electric, hybrid and low-carbon vehicles and 5,000 charging stations. The transportation bureau of London aims to make the “capital of Britain the electric vehicle capital of Europe by 2015.” (http://gas2.org/2010/04/22/london-electric-vehicle-capital-of-europe-by-2015/)
Germany also has a plan to have 1 million electric vehicles on the streets by 2020 (“National Electric Mobility Platform”).
You’ll find reports from Denmark, France and others boasting their own EV initiatives.
Though it’s not entirely clear which country has the most electric vehicles today, it is certain that European countries are racing against each other to make their streets the greenest. London has at least 750 electric vehicles on the road as of October of 2009 (http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/news/4234572) and 10% of all new car registrations in Europe are electric-drive (http://www.evworld.com/industry/news.cfm?newsid=24343&country=France).
The main reasons for this take-off are considerable tax breaks from European governments, government subsidies and stringent emission regulations. Probably a greener attitude in general from the people as well.
It will be exciting to see the implementation of EV infrastructure. (Now if we can get Los Angeles to start a similarly ambitious public transportation system! 😉 )
I also wonder, how do the different systems of governance in some European countries, for example socialist Germany, influence green initiatives compared to the U.S.? Maybe a question for a separate thread.
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