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3 Success Factors in Scaling the Use of Electric Vehicles

Thailand's transition toward electric vehicles (EVs) is driven by positive perceptions such as environmental consciousness and cost savings, with 70% citing the environmental impact and 65% the financial benefits. However, concerns persist, including the lack of charging infrastructure, high initial costs, limited driving range, and safety worries. Addressing these challenges is vital for wider EV acceptance in Thailand. Globally, the push for Electric Vehicle (EV) adoption aligns with climate goals, targeting 75% to 95% of passenger vehicle sales by 2030 to be consistent with international climate goals. Notably, Norway leads this transition with 87% of all-electric vehicles accounting for its 2022 passenger vehicle sales. Why is scaling up the use of EVs successful in Norway? How did Norway become a leader in EV adoption?


Despite its challenging climate with concerns such as EV batteries not running effectively in low temperatures, Norway emerged as a global leader in EV adoption. Initiating efforts in 1990, the government applied proactive measures that consistently promoted EVs, including financial incentives, infrastructure investment, and attractive perks for EV owners, setting the stage for Norway's success. Many thousands of Norwegians responded to the government's invitation to purchase an EV. Currently, that 87% of the nation's new car sales are electric, a percentage that is far higher than that of the US (7%) and the EU (13%) combined.


There are three main factors in scaling up the use of EVs. Financial incentives as part of government incentives, including tax exemptions, have made EVs financially favorable for consumers, contributing to widespread adoption. Norwegians who buy fully electric vehicles are exempt from hefty value-added taxes and registration fees, enjoying additional financial perks. The pivotal moment occurred around 2012 when the overall expenses associated with owning an electric vehicle throughout its lifespan became more economical than those of owning a conventional gasoline or diesel-powered vehicle. Another driving factor is infrastructure investment; for example, Norway's substantial investment in EV chargers resulted in the highest number of public fast chargers per capita globally, ensuring convenient charging points. Moreover, the private sector also invests in the emerging EV market. For instance, Zaptec, a Norwegian technology company with a leading position in EV charging, invested NOK 5 million in the software company, Switch, to develop the next generation of charging technology with no apps or credit cards. Lastly, attractive perks provided by the government— free parking in cities, reduced tolls, and priority access, enhance the appeal of EV ownership.

By studying Norway's successful EV adoption model, Thailand can glean valuable insights and strategies to overcome its own EV adoption challenges. Norway's achievements highlight the need for governments to take the lead in accelerating the adoption of EVs. While several initiatives to promote EV usage have already been implemented in Thailand, private players should also participate in taking significant actions to address the urgency of the climate crisis and harvest benefits for the economy and the environment. This collective effort will contribute to enhancing EVs' potential as a beneficial solution to achieve the ongoing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


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