Proud to be an American? Perhaps not so much if you're an electric vehicle advocate comparing our new EV sales to those of France (and try to forget Norway).
Automakers sold 5,663 pure electric vehicles to private users in France 2012, doubling the annual EV sales throughout the country compared to 2011, Green Car Congress reports, citing French electric and hybrid vehicle association AVERE-France. PSA Peugeot Citroen was the largest French EV maker with 2,744 Ion/C-Zero models sold, while the Bollore Blue Car and Nissan Leaf moved 1,800 and 524 units, respectively.
While fewer than 6,000 new EVs don't sound like much, the demand is impressive when considering the sample size and the fact that France alone accounts for about a third of Europe's EV market. Americans purchased about 12,000 EVs last year, including 9,819 Leafs and factoring in the lower-volume Tesla Model S. With about 240 million vehicles on American roads, new EVs accounted for about one in 20,000 registered US vehicles. Factoring France's approximately 35 million registered vehicles, new EVs accounted for about one in 6,200 roadworthy cars, meaning that France had three times as many new EVs to registered vehicles as the US.
As recently as September, French Minister of Industrial Renewal Amaud Montebourg said he wanted France to be the leading nation when it came to EV adoption. Incentives such as free EV parking, toll-road fee exemptions and financial aid to those who install EV charging stations are also in the works.