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Europe: Swedes slow to cash in on electric car subsidy

The Swedish government’s electric car subsidy has done little to stimulate sales of the environmentally-friendly vehicles, new figures published by the Dagens Nyheter (DN) daily show.
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After six months only 96 premiums have been paid out, equating to a mere 4 million kronor ($584,000) of the 200 million kronor earmarked by the government for the project, according to new figures from the Swedish Transport Authority (Transportstyrelsen).

The government first mooted the initiative in 2010 with the ambition that 5,000 low-emission cars would be sold during the parliamentary term (which ends in 2014).

Swedish car industry lobby group Gröna Bilister argued that the figures illustrate that the 40,000 kronor ($5,840) premium is too small to make a difference.

“If you look at one of the more popular electric cars they cost around 350,000 kronor, in comparison to say a VW Golf which costs around 200,000. The premium is too small to change behaviour,” said Mattias Goldman at Gröna Bilister to The Local.

He argued furthermore that while there is an underlying consumer demand for electric cars, there is a “ketchup effect” when it comes to new technology and that point has not yet been reached.
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