Which countries lead on electric cars? Arcadis offers first league table

An electric taxi in Shenzhen. There are no fewer than 390 models of EV to choose from in China’s car market (Brücke-Osteuropa/CC0/Public domain)
Dutch consulting engineer Arcadis has published a report assessing how well countries around the world are adapting to the use of electric vehicles (EVs).

The “Global Electric Vehicle Catalyst Index” examines 12 countries and two US states and scores them on three metrics: government policy leadership; EV market maturity and readiness, including how many models are available to buy; and the availability of EV charging infrastructure.

In terms of government leadership, for which Arcadis assessed things like future bans on internal combustion engines, net zero declarations and regulatory support, the UK and China shared top place with a score of 3.75 out of an available 4.0, while Australia brought up the rear with 2.0. Thailand and Italy scored 2.75.

In terms of market maturity, the Netherlands came top with a score of 3.25, followed by China and the UK with 3.0. The lowest scores were registered by Australia and Singapore, both with 1.0, followed by Thailand (1.25), Spain (1.5) and Canada (1.75).

In terms of charging infrastructure, assessed as the ratio of charge points to vehicles, the top scorers were Italy, China and California, which got 3.5, indicating that they had one charge point for every six-to-10 vehicles and a national strategy in place to provide more.

The lowest ranked were Thailand (1.5) and Australia (1.75) since the ratio of cars to plugs is greater than 16 and there is no national strategy or standards, and few financial incentives to buy EVs.

Singapore (2.5), France (2.75), Ireland (2.0) and Spain (2.5) were in the middling category, with 11-15 plugs per car and some strategies in place in certain cities. 

Peter Oosterveer, Arcadis’ chief executive, said the report showed the importance of government policy in catalysing the shift from petrol and diesel. He said: “With clear leadership from the top and the right policy levers in place, electric vehicles can play a notable role in tackling the climate crisis and improving quality of life for all communities across the world.”

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