Can the EV market thrive without subsidies?

Government support should tail off once sales hit a critical volume. For now, discounts remain pivotal to growth, writes Freddie Holmes

The first generation of mass-produced electric vehicles (EVs) were a tough sell. With pitiful range, slow charging and high price tags, only true early adopters were keen to invest. In a bid to get more consumers on the path to zero tailpipe emissions, governments around the world have offered subsidies and incentives to boost sales.

Special report: Electric vehicle regulation

The aim is to stimulate demand to a point where sales would eventually grow organically. However, government support may still be needed to convince the next wave of drivers to go electric. Today, many regions around the world offer state-funded discounts for new EVs, in some cases knocking 10% or more off the list price.

The challenge is that even with greatly improved range, lower prices and premium technologies, today’s EVs are still more expensive than comparable diesel or gasoline models. Over time, the total cost of ownership (TCO) for an EV may be more affordable, but industry observers warn that despite promising growth rates, EV sales continue to depend on external aid.

Incentives may soon focus less on the price of the car, and more so on the ownership experience

“Governmental support has been and still is

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