Gästskribent Gerardo de Rubens berättar om elbilsförsäljning och V2G i Norden

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Norden har världens högsta marknadsandelar för laddbara fordon, vilket inte har gått forskningen förbi. Ett stort antal forskningsstudier har genomförts i de enskilda nordiska länderna, med syfte att öka kunskapen kring de faktorer som driver eller bromsar försäljningen. Få forskargrupper har varit så produktiva och inflytelserika inom detta område som Center for Energy Technologies (CET) på Aarhus University. De studier som CET har genomfört är intressanta då de har undersökt flera olika perspektiv samt inkluderat flera nordiska länder i datainsamlingen. Dagens nyhetsbrev är skrivet av doktor Gerardo de Rubens från CET, i vilket han delger några av resultaten och slutsatserna från dessa studier.

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Electric vehicle diffusion in the Nordics

Skrivet av Gerardo de Rubens

The rapid evolution of EVs may be a result of numerous factors, including fast technology development with, for example, advances in battery technology, increasing driving range, to climate change pressures in the quest to decarbonise societies, and market disruptions with the penetration of the now most valuable car company in the world, Tesla.

Such upward trend for EVs has radically changed perceptions and expectations towards electric vehicles, which was evidenced through a 3-year study across the five Nordic countries on the socio-technical feasibility of electric vehicles and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) between 2016 and 2019.

Since late-2015 the region experienced significant changes and developments, with the most notable coming, perhaps, from Sweden and Denmark. Our study’s expert interviews in Sweden (late-2016), showed arguable scepticism towards EVs, which later shifted in 2017 with the introduction of a Bonus Malus system, and Volvo’s announcement that it was moving towards electric-based technologies. Whereas Denmark moved from a number of back-and-forth policy actions, such as phasing out EV incentives between 2015-17, to launching in 2020 a new tax plan to support the introduction of least 775,000 EVs on Danish roads by 2030.

The NV2G project

Our project, funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research (DFF), investigated the socio-technical feasibility of electric vehicles and vehicle to grid (V2G) across the five Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden between 2016 and 2019. In addition, engaging with over 200 energy and transport related organisations including: local and national authorities; private sector organisations including car manufacturers, energy utilities or charging infrastructure; others such as consultancies and research organisations.

The project followed a multidisciplinary approach, based on four main methods of research including: 227 semi-structured interviews [refer to source 10], an online survey of over 5,000 respondents [see sources 13 or 24], 8 focus groups [see source 34] and 126 car dealership visits [refer to source 12] across 17 cities in the region. Further, the project used multiple analytical approaches from qualitative analysis and machine learning to optimisation, and statistics.  Overall, resulting in an extensive publication portfolio of 46 scientific article and book publications in journals such as Nature Energy, Technological Forecasting & Social Change, Energy Research & Social Science, Energy and Transportation Research Part D, among others.

eMobility findings

Considering the socio-technical approach and multiplicity of research methods, the findings are multidimensional across policy, technology adoption, technology development and consumer behaviour. In this piece, the focus will be on the insights that contribute to a roadmap of electric vehicle adoption.

When looking at the retail level, the NV2G project found that policy and signalling from government and industry was evident at the point of sale (car dealerships), creating significant deterrents for car dealerships and sales staff to promote and intent to sell EVs. This was found whilst studying 126 car dealerships across the region, evidencing a number of challenges for electric vehicle diffusion. Dealerships were dismissive of EVs, routinely misinformed shoppers on vehicle specifications, omitted EVs from the sales conversation and strongly oriented customers towards petrol and diesel vehicle options. However, this is arguably a result of a supply system that favoured internal combustion engine vehicles over EVs (at least outside of Norway), resulting in salespersons opting to promote the easier-to-sell petrol and diesel vehicle options.

Figure 1: EV adoption clusters across countries.[1]

On the other hand, when looking at the consumer side, the project found the market could be categorised across 6 specific consumer clusters, with up to 68% of the consumer pool being considered as a viable short-medium term mass market for EV diffusion. This notes in particular, current EV adoption has been led by a sense of status and technology driven customers as opposed to environmentally focused. Whereas V2G was found to potential contribute to wider EV adoption, as consumer interest significantly increased by adding V2G capabilities.  A subsequent key finding was, that despite a large disparity between the Nordic countries in EV adoption, the identified consumer pools (Figure 1) are remarkably similar across countries. Therefore, pointing that the success or failure of EV adoption is arguably a result of national policies and markets, instead of being due to the different compositions of consumers across countries.

The NV2G study placed a strong focus on understanding the barriers to EV adoption through finding a nexus of barriers (Figure 2), with the main linkages consisting primarily of range, price, public charging infrastructure, and mental barriers (knowledge). The 257 interviewed experts often characterised barriers being dependent one another (i.e., driving range and range anxiety) implying that there is not just one singular barrier holding back EV adoption, instead, that barriers are highly interconnected. This however, points at the potential to address multiple key barriers through focusing on a highly interrelated challenge. For example, social elements (i.e. knowledge) moderate other often-perceived technical barriers, such as (lack of) charging infrastructure or limited driving range. Therefore, a strategy might suggest to focus on knowledge and experience campaigns for range anxiety, over the more expensive development option, of public charging infrastructure.

Figure 2: Nexus of EV barriers.

Finally, the project found that most barriers, at least the core Nexus of range-price-infrastructure-knowledge are expected to be addressed in the short-term. Particularly due to either technology development, increased exposure and experience with EVs, as well as increased government support and industry maturation. This evolution has been arguably experienced during (and after) the NV2G project, and serves as an explanation to the rapid change in perceptions towards EVs in the Nordic region and elsewhere.


The NV2G project, thus, highlights insights to support the case for an EV adoption roadmap.

  • It was found up to 94% of respondents throughout the study, would consider to buy their next vehicle <=€30,000 suggesting a potential tipping point when the market matures, and economies of scale develop. However, in the short-medium term governments should increase incentives to position EVs competitively in the market.
  • To mirror adoption patterns, promotion, and messaging strategies of EVs, should focus mostly on the technological and status related attributes of the vehicles, instead solely on the environmental attributes.
  • The willingness to pay premium for driving range, decreased after a range of 300-400km in a single charge, hence additional diving range capabilities after this threshold might not result in optimal vehicle offerings.
  • V2G capability was found to increase the attractiveness of EVs to consumers, especially those interested in environmental and financial attributes.
  • Industry should look to develop dedicated business models, supply chain and selling processes for EVs to optimize the production and delivery of vehicles.
  • Considering the targets for carbon reduction, governments should harmonise policy portfolios to create incentives and actions that are coordinated across technologies, fostering ultra-low emission vehicles.

Project resources (chronological)

[1] Noel, L and BK Sovacool. “Why Did Better Place Fail?: Range Anxiety, Interpretive Flexibility, and Electric Vehicle Promotion in Denmark and Israel,” Energy Policy 94 (July, 2016), pp. 377-386.

[2] Sovacool, BK. “Experts, theories, and electric mobility transitions: Toward an integrated conceptual framework for the adoption of electric vehicles,” Energy Research & Social Science 27 (May, 2017), pp. 78-95.

[3] Noel, L. “The hidden economic benefits of large-scale renewable energy deployment: Integrating heat, electricity and vehicle systems.”  Energy Research & Social Science Vol. 26, 54-59 (2017)

[4] Noel, L., J. Brodie, W. Kempton, C. Archer, C. Budischak. “A Cost Minimization Model of Electricity Production and Transportation With Considerations of Externalities.” Applied Energy Vol. 189, 110-121 (2017).

[5] Sovacool, BK, LD Noel, and RJ Orsato. “Stretching, Embeddedness, and Scripts in a Sociotechnical Transition: Explaining the Failure of Electric Mobility at Better Place (2007-2013),” Technological Forecasting & Social Change 123 (October, 2017), pp. 24-34.

[6] Sovacool, BK, J Axsen, and W Kempton. “The Future Promise of Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) Integration: A Sociotechnical Review and Research Agenda,” Annual Review of Environment and Resources 42 (October, 2017), pp. 377-406.

[7] Sovacool, BK, L Noel, J Axsen, and W Kempton. “The neglected social dimensions to a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) transition: A critical and systematic review,” Environmental Research Letters 13(1) (January, 2018), 013001, pp. 1-18.

[8] Kester, J.  “Governing electric vehicles: Mobilizing electricity to secure automobility,” Mobilities 13(2) (March, 2018), pp. 200-215.

[9] Sovacool, BK, J Kester, G Zarazua de Rubens, and L Noel.  “Expert perceptions of low-carbon transitions: Investigating the challenges of electricity decarbonisation in the Nordic region,” Energy 148 (April, 2018), pp. 1162-1172.

[10] Kester, J, L Noel, G Zarazua de Rubens, and BK Sovacool, “Promoting Vehicle to Grid (V2G) in the Nordic Region:  Expert advice on policy mechanisms for accelerated diffusion,” Energy Policy 116 (May, 2018), pp. 422-432.

[11] Noel, L, G Zarazua de Rubens, and BK Sovacool. “Optimizing innovation, carbon and health in transport: Assessing socially optimal electric mobility and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) pathways in Denmark,” Energy 153 (June, 2018), pp. 628-637.

[12] Zarazua de Rubens, Gerardo, L Noel, and BK Sovacool. “Dismissive and deceptive car dealerships create barriers to electric vehicle adoption at the point of sale,” Nature Energy 3 (June, 2018), pp. 501-507.

[13] Sovacool, BK, J Kester, L Noel, and G Zarazua de Rubens. “The demographics of decarbonizing transport: The influence of gender, education, occupation, age, and household size on electric mobility preferences in the Nordic region,” Global Environmental Change 52 (September, 2018), pp. 86-100.

[14] Kester, J, L Noel, G Zarazua de Rubens, and BK Sovacool. “Policy Mechanisms to Accelerate Electric Vehicle Adoption: A Qualitative Review from the Nordic Region,” Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews 94 (October, 2018), pp. 719-731.

[15] Noel, L, G Zarazua de Rubens, J Kester, and BK Sovacool. “Beyond Emissions and Economics: Rethinking the co-benefits of Electric Vehicles (EVs) and Vehicle-To-Grid (V2G),” Transport Policy 71 (November, 2018), pp. 130-137.

[16] Sovacool, BK, L Noel, G Zarazua de Rubens, J Kester. “Reviewing Nordic Transport Challenges and Climate Policy Priorities: Expert Perceptions of Decarbonisation in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden,” Energy 165 (December, 2018), pp. 532-542.

[17] Sovacool, BK and J Axsen. “Functional, symbolic and societal frames for automobility: Implications for sustainability transitions,” Transportation Research Part A 118 (December, 2018), pp. 730-746.

[18] Kester, J, L Noel, X Lin, G Zarazua de Rubens, and BK Sovacool. “The coproduction of electric mobility: Selectivity, conformity and fragmentation in the sociotechnical acceptance of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) standards,” Journal of Cleaner Production 207 (January, 2019), pp. 400-410.

[19] Noel, LD, G Zarazua de Rubens, BK Sovacool, and J Kester. “Fear and Loathing of Electric Vehicles: The Reactionary Rhetoric of Range Anxiety,” Energy Research & Social Science 48 (February, 2019), pp. 96-107.

[20] Noel, LD, AP Carrone, AF Jensen, GDR Zarazua, J Kester, and BK Sovacool. “Willingness to Pay for Electric Vehicles and Vehicle-to-Grid Applications: A Nordic Choice Experiment,” Energy Economics 78 (February, 2019), pp. 525-534.

[21] Sovacool, BK, Noel, LD, G Zarazua de Rubens, and J Kester. “Energy injustice and Nordic electric mobility: Inequality, elitism, and externalities in the electrification of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) transport,” Ecological Economics 157 (March, 2019), pp. 205-217.

[22] Noel, L, J Kester, G Zarazua de Rubens, and BK Sovacool. Vehicle-to-Grid: A Sociotechnical Transition Beyond Electric Mobility (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2019).

[23] Sovacool, BK. Visions of Energy Futures: Imagining and Innovating Low-Carbon Transitions (New York and London: Routledge, 2019).

[24] Zarazua de Rubens, G. “Who will buy electric vehicles after early adopters? Using machine learning to identify the electric vehicle mainstream market,” Energy 172 (April, 2019), pp. 243-254.

[25] Noel, LD, G Zarazua de Rubens, J Kester, and BK Sovacool, “Navigating Expert Scepticism and Consumer Distrust: Rethinking the Barriers to Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) in the Nordic Region,” Transport Policy 76 (April, 2019), pp. 67-77.

[26] Axsen, J and BK Sovacool. “The roles of users in electric, shared, and automated mobility transitions,” Transportation Research Part D 71 (June, 2019), pp. 1-21.

[27] Kanger, L, F Geels, BK Sovacool and JW Schot. “Technological diffusion as a process of societal embedding: Lessons from historical automobile transitions for future electric mobility,” Transportation Research Part D 71 (June, 2019), pp. 47-66.

[28] Noel, L, BK Sovacool, J Kester, and G Zarazua de Rubens. “Conspicuous Diffusion: Theorizing How Status Drives Innovation in Electric Mobility,” Environmental Innovation & Societal Transitions 31 (June, 2019), pp. 154-169.

[29] Sovacool, BK, J Kester, L Noel, and G Zarazua de Rubens. “Contested visions and sociotechnical expectations of electric mobility and vehicle-to-grid innovation in five Nordic countries,” Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 31 (June, 2019), pp. 170-183.

[30] Sovacool, BK, J Kester, L Noel, and G Zarazua de Rubens. “Income, political affiliation, urbanism and geography in stated preferences for electric vehicles (EVs) and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies in Northern Europe,” Journal of Transport Geography 78 (June, 2019), pp. 214-229.

[31] Sovacool, BK, W Abrahamse, W, L Zhang, and J Ren. “Pleasure or profit? Surveying the purchasing intentions of potential electric vehicle adopters in China,” Transportation Research Part A 124 (June, 2019), pp. 69-81.

[32] Sovacool, BK, J Kester, and V Heida-Kester. “Cars and kids: Childhood perceptions of electric vehicles and sustainable transport in Denmark and the Netherlands,” Technological Forecasting & Social Change 144 (July, 2019), pp. 182-192.

[33] Sovacool, BK, J Kester, LD Noel, and GZD Rubens. “Are electric vehicles masculinized? Gender, identity, and environmental values in Nordic transport practices and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) preferences,” Transportation Research Part D 72 (July, 2019), pp. 187-202.

[34] Kester, J, GZD Rubens, BK Sovacool, and LD Noel. “Public perceptions of electric vehicles and vehicle-to-grid (V2G): Insights from a Nordic focus group study,” Transportation Research Part D 74 (September, 2019), pp. 277-293.

[35] Kester J, BK Sovacool, and V Heida-Kester.  “From Flying Cars to Tesla: Examining the Personal Automobile Preferences of Primary Schoolchildren in Denmark and the Netherlands,” Energy Research & Social Science 56 (October, 2019), Article 101204, pp. 1-11.

[36] Sovacool, BK, JC Rogge, C Saleta and E Masterson-Cox. “Transformative versus conservative automotive innovation styles: Contrasting the electric vehicle manufacturing strategies for the BMW i3 and Fiat 500e,” Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 33 (November, 2019), pp. 45-60.

[37] Kester J. “Security in transition(s): The low-level security politics of electric vehicle range anxiety,” Security Dialogue 50(6) (December, 2019), pp. 547-563.

[38] Kester, J, BK Sovacool, LD Noel, and GZD Rubens. “Rethinking the spatiality of Nordic electric vehicles and their popularity in urban environments: Moving beyond the city?” Journal of Transport Geography 82 (January, 2020), 102557, pp. 1-13.

[39] Zarazua, GDR, LD Noel, J Kester, and BK Sovacool. “The market case for electric mobility: Investigating electric vehicle business models for mass adoption,” Energy 194 (March, 2020), 116841, pp. 1-11.

[40] Noel, LD, G Zarazua de Rubens, J Kester, and BK Sovacool. “Understanding the Socio-technical Nexus of Electric Vehicle (EV) Barriers: A qualitative discussion of Range, Price, Charging and Knowledge,” Energy Policy 138 (March, 2020), 111292, pp.1-15.

[41] Chen, CF, GZD Rubens, L Noel, J Kester, and BK Sovacool. “Assessing the Socio-demographic, Technical, Economic and Behavioural Factors of Nordic Electric Vehicle Adoption and the Influence of Vehicle-to-Grid Preferences,” Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews 121 (April, 2020), 109692, pp. 1-13.

[42] Lin, X and BK Sovacool. “Inter-niche competition on ice? Socio-technical drivers, benefits and barriers of the electric vehicle transition in Iceland,” Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 35 (June 2020), pp. 1-20.

[43] Kester, J, BK Sovacool, GZD Rubens, L Noel. “Between hope, hype, and hell: Electric mobility and the interplay of fear and desire in sustainability transitions,” Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 35 (June, 2020), pp. 88-102.

[44] Sovacool, BK, L Noel, GZD Rubens, and J Kester. “Actors, business models, and innovation activity systems for Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology: A comprehensive review” Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews 131 (October, 2020), 109963, pp. 1-21.

[45] Kester, J, BK Sovacool, LD Noel, and GZD Rubens. “Novel or normal: Electric vehicles and the dialectic transition of Nordic automobility,” Energy Research & Social Science 69 (November, 2020), 101642, pp. 1-12.

[46] Noel, LD, GZD Rubens, J Kester and BK Sovacool.  “Leveraging User-based Innovation in Vehicle-to-X and Vehicle-to-Grid Adoption: A Nordic Case Study,” Journal of Cleaner Production 287 (March 10, 2021), 125591, pp. 1-13