Which International Cities Are Leading Electric Vehicle Growth?

Electric Vehicle

NOV 20 2017 BY EVANNEX 10


Cars like the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S are becoming more common on today’s city streets (Image: U.S. Department of Energy)


What cities are driving the electric vehicle revolution around the world? This question was just addressed by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).

It turns out that their recent report includes: “cities with the highest electric vehicle uptake through 2016 and examines the associated local policies, incentives, and infrastructure that have helped spur electric vehicle sales growth.”

So where are these exceptional cities? Let’s dive into the ICCT’s report to find out.

The report notes that “Electric vehicle sales are increasing across almost all markets, but are still disproportionately concentrated in a small number of major markets.” To that end, the report identifies 20 cities that are responsible for a whopping 40% of electric vehicles. The ICCT names these 20 their electric vehicle capital cities.

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Matt Pressman.


Cumulative EV sales expressed as percentages of global EV stock through 2016 (Source: ICCT)

So who does this report name as the EV capital of the world? There are a few answers to that question, but, “Los Angeles leads the world with more than 100,000 cumulative electric vehicle sales.”

That said, China’s Shanghai and Beijing are not far behind LA. However, when looking at electric vehicle sales shares: “The Norwegian cities of Bergen and Oslo… [led with] 36% and 33% respectively.”


Cumulative EV sales and sales shares in ICCT’s EV “capital cities” in 2016 (Source: ICCT)

Another key factor for the success of electric vehicles in these cities is access to EV charging infrastructure. Although the majority of charging occurs at home or work, the report notes that public “charging infrastructure is a key enabler and driver of the electric vehicle market.” EV infrastructure improves access to more charge points and adds to the ease (and enjoyment) of road trips.


The BMW i3 and Tesla Model S park-and-charge (Image: Sierra Club)

So which city wins for EV charging infrastructure? Cities in: “Norway and the Netherlands have the highest concentration of public charge points… [but importantly] cities in China have a much higher share of DC fast charge points, at 16%–45% of all public charge points.” Of course, it’s important to note that Tesla owners enjoy additional benefit from the company’s proprietary Supercharger network.


Looking at EV charging points in electric vehicle capital cities (Source: ICCT)

In addition, the report notes that public policies that incentivize EV ownership are clearly “correlated with higher electric vehicle uptake.”
Not surprisingly, these top 20 cities benefit from financial incentives often determined at the national level. The following table (see below) shows ICCT’s assigned value of total financial incentives for EVs in each capital city. So where does the financial incentive value for EV ownership spike the most? Norway’s Bergen and Oslo shine here — rising high above other cities worldwide.


A look at the total financial incentive value for electric cars, by EV capital city (Source: ICCT)

What conclusions can we draw from the ICCT’s report?

“These cities are each in their own way helping to overcome electric vehicle barriers, propelling the market forward, and leading by example.” That said, what can we learn from these trailblazing cities? “The path ahead toward full electrification will surely require sustained efforts with policy, much greater electric vehicle infrastructure build-out, and broader awareness as lower-cost and longer-range electric vehicles enter the fleet.”


Source: International Council on Clean Transportation

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX, Check out the site here.

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10 Comments on "Which International Cities Are Leading Electric Vehicle Growth?"

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Figure 3 is a telling story for the US. We are WAY behind on public charging infrastructure. I think that speaks of the govt’s commitment to EVs. The external incentive is not there, and few are making money on charging infrastructure (so income incentive is low too).

It’s all regulations…If it wasn’t for CARB…

Yeah, regulations are cool… I can’t wait until I’m not allowed to think, or do anything for myself at all.

Nice try… CARB is a large part of the reason EV’s even exist in the USA at all. Without it we’d have no options other than ICE.

I think that by the numbers, Seattle should be there instead of New York.

I’m objective, of course 🙂

Seriously, from what I’ve found, greater NYC is just now inching towards 10k EVs, whereas greater Seattle has ~20k, despite being 5-6 times smaller in population.



Honestly, the triad of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht tilt the tables when it comes to accessing the Netherlands as an EV-friendly country. Ever try to charge up elsewhere? I live in Hilversum, where the city council has 1 3.3kv plug in front of the city hall. Everything else is private, hidden in paid parking garages or on private property – virtually no public infrastructure at all, and we’re supposed to be the media capital of the country! It gets worse in surrounding cities and towns, where there’s not even a destination charger. And why? Because most EV ownership is driven by the business-traveler, the manager or salesperson who gets a car with their job. Previously, everyone had PHEVs, but the tax laws changes, now BEVs are coming available..but charging remains private and mostly at home. There are charging stations on the highways, but I’ve never seen one at a local gas station…only the Ikea or the occasional destination like a La Place (and then, maybe 1 – if it’s not ICEd).

The Netherlands has a long way to go to make public infrastructure viable for EVs. We shouldn’t wave our flag so proudly yet.

Wow. Cool to see that new EV car sales in Norway (Oslo and Bergen) is in the mid thirties. Althouh plug in hybrids are growing in popularity.

Of one look more detailed into the sales numbers one would notice that most plugin-hybrids are sold in segments where there are no BEV alternatives. If there were also BEV versions of the same cars BEV sales would be even higher.

Plugin hybrid sales beat ICE sales where plugin is an option.
BEV sales beat ICE and plugin hybrid where BEV is an option.

Another factor of BEV adoption in Norway that is not shown in these diagrams is the distribution of DC fast chargers between the cities. A few years ago government switched to funding fast charging sites between the cities. All major roads between the larger cities are now covered with at least two 50kW DC chargers and two 22kW AC sockets for every 50km/31mile.

This not only helps people drive safely from city to city, but also help people living outside the cities to get almost everywhere.

The possibility of driving between the cities also greatly increases the use of fast charging infrastructure improving the economy of building and maintaining it.

So market share is still a rounding error. Sigh.