Switzerland named best country to own an electric vehicle

Switzerland has been crowned the most EV-friendly country in Europe, according to analysis from Forbes Advisor.

More than 6.5 million electric vehicles (EVs) have been sold worldwide, and that number is set to grow due to the phasing-out of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from as soon as 2025 (Norway), with the UK targeting 2030 and the 27 EU member states EU aiming for 2035.

In anticipation of this, personal finance guidance and comparison website Forbes Advisor has looked at EV-readiness around the world, to see which countries are best suited to EV drivers.

In-depth analysis from Forbes Advisor revealed Switzerland to be the most EV-friendly country, followed by Austria and Denmark. In fact, the top ten EV-ready countries are all to be found in Europe.

The analysis ranked developed countries around the world – from one (best) to 25 (worst) – on five key EV-relevant metrics: EV sales, number of charging points per capita, average price of electricity, percentage of renewable energy, and road quality. The countries were then awarded an overall score based on their average ranking across the five metrics – so the closer to an overall ranking of 1, the better the country’s overall EV-readiness.

UK ranking

Despite having one of the highest populations on the list, the UK fails to be considered one of the top 10 EV-friendly countries.

Of the five metrics analysed, the UK scored highly in the number of charging points, with 42,000 available across the country, but received the 8th worst score for road quality, ranking 17th out of 25.

Despite finishing outside the top 10 for renewable energy, the UK is well on its way to achieving its 2035 net zero green electricity target, with 42% of the country’s electricity already coming from renewable sources².

EV sales

Last year, Norway had the highest number of EV sales per capita, with 20 cars purchased for every 1,000 people, accounting for 65% of all car sales3.

The high numbers could be attributed to the government’s long-standing EV incentive scheme, which means drivers are exempt from purchase taxes – which are based on a combination of weight, CO2 and Nox emissions –  and VAT (25% of car value), as well as annual road traffic insurance tax.

Charging points

The Netherlands had the most charging points per capita, with an estimated 4.6 charging stations per 1,000 people. China had the most charging stations in total, with an estimated 1.1 million spread across the country, but this equates to just 0.8 per 1,000 people.

Cost of electricity

While Russia had the poorest infrastructure for EVs overall, and finished at the bottom of the table with the poorest overall ranking of 19.2, it is the cheapest country in which to charge an EV.

In Russia drivers can expect to pay $2.75 to fully charge an electric vehicle4, while Luxembourg came out the most expensive at $19.25.

Renewable energy

It’s important to note where EVs are having the most beneficial effect on a country’s overall green energy consumption.

Almost all of Iceland’s energy is renewable (99%), followed closely by Norway (98%). In contrast to this, South Korea ranked the lowest, using only 6% renewable energy.5

So, while driving an EV in South Korea will undoubtedly cut emissions, charging the vehicle in the first place will still come with a significant carbon footprint.

Road quality

Dutch roads were revealed to be the best to drive on, as the Netherlands ranked number one, closely followed by Switzerland.

Dutch road conditions could be due to ~99.1%6 of the population owning a bike, meaning there are fewer drivers contributing to road deterioration.

It is clear that European countries are shaping the future of green energy. With the European Commission adopting a set of proposals for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 20307, things seem to be going in the right direction when it comes to personal and public transport.

Kevin Pratt, car insurance expert at Forbes Advisor, said: “Electric vehicles are hailed by many as a cornerstone of the green revolution, so it’s fascinating to see Europe leading the way in terms of adopting the technology and building the supporting infrastructure. But while the commitment to EVs is not in doubt, it is likely there will be bumps in the road in the coming years.

“First, persuading the bulk of a populace to help in the transition to new technology will be a challenge. It will be interesting to see how Norwegians react to the 2025 deadline for the sale of new petrol and diesel cars – and how we in the UK react in the run-up to 2030. Will we actually see a surge in combustion engine vehicle sales as these deadlines approach?

“Then there is the infrastructure. How do you ensure adequate provision of charging points, for example, especially for those living in apartment buildings and other accommodation that does not facilitate an at-home charger? And how do you manage demand if you have millions of cars tapping into a national grid at peak times?

“These and other issues sit within the two-pronged crisis formed by cost-of-living pressures and energy insecurity – can we afford to build, buy and maintain a green fleet of EVs, and will we have enough power to run them? And where will that power come from? Will we still be burning fossil fuels to generate electricity to recharge those millions of batteries?

“The momentum behind EVs looks irresistible, but it is important to stay grounded and to be ready to address awkward questions attendant on such a massive societal change.”