Ever since Shai Agassi's Renault/Nissan backed Project Better Place electric car scheme announced in March 2008 that it had chosen Denmark as its first European roll-out country, an ever-lengthening convoy of electric car manufacturers and providers from around the world have signalled their intention to join in the competition for a slice of the Danish e-transport market.
One factor that has provided a strong incentive is the Danish government's decision to tax-exempt electric cars until at least 2012, and in all likelihood beyond that. Lifting the 180% registration tax represents a major step towards making electric cars competitive on price with their combustion engine rivals, and will certainly encourage Danes to get out their pocket calculators and start making comparisons.
There are other e-incentives appearing too. Denmark's city municipalities, keen to promote their green credentials, are already proposing free car parking for electric cars – another source of significant savings for the Danish e-motorist that will not go unnoticed. And as the Danish Energy Association reports, the leading Danish insurance company TrygVesta has just announced a very tempting offer to those thinking of making the switch to a battery-powered set of wheels – a big reduction in the insurance premium.
TrygVesta has done a deal with Better Place to develop a car insurance product customised to electric cars. But already from 1st September, TrygVesta has reduced the insurance premium on pure electric cars by a whopping 40%, and is giving a 20% reduction of premium on hybrid cars.
True, there isn't an established insurance product for electric cars on the market for proper comparison, nor are there that many e-motorists in Denmark to take advantage of the offer – yet. But the more Danish consumers perceive electric cars as becoming the cheaper choice when all the costs like registration tax, insurance, parking and so on are added up, the sooner they are likely to take that test drive and make the switch.
And Denmark is the kind of country where, once people start buying into a new idea in noticeable numbers, the flood gates open and the whole population rushes in.