NY Times — Is saving $40,000 at the showroom enough to get drivers behind the wheel of an electric car? With a program in the works to add easy access to charging stations, Denmark is about to find out. The country imposes a punitive tax of about 200% on new cars, so a vehicle that would cost $20,000 in the United States costs $60,000 here. For a quarter-century, electric cars have been exempt from that tax. But the models on the market were so limited in their capabilities that only 497 of them are registered in the entire country.
For all their potential, electric cars have always been the subject of more talk than action, and only a handful are on the road in Denmark. But now the biggest Danish power company is working with a Silicon Valley start-up in a $100 million effort to wire the country with charging poles as well as service stations that can change out batteries in minutes.
The government offers a minimum $40,000 tax break on each new electric car — and free parking in downtown Copenhagen. But even in Denmark, one of the most environmentally conscious nations in the world, skepticism abounds. It is not clear that car buyers can be persuaded to make the switch.
“There is a psychological barrier for consumers when their car is dependent on a battery station,” warned Henrik Lund, a professor of energy planning at Aalborg University. “It’s risky.”
MP: Two amazing points: First, a 200% tax on cars in Denmark? That seems crazy. Second, most car buyers in Denmark actually pay the 200% tax and buy a regular car when they could avoid it by buying an electric car? That seems even crazier. I always thought if you tax something, you get less of it, and if you subsidize something you get more of it? Not in Denmark I guess.
Thanks to Stuart Anderson.
Update: Denmark, which hosts the UN climate change conference next week, is often seen as one of the most environmentally friendly countries in the world. This reputation is mostly undeserved, but Denmark is doing its best to catch up.
MP: Undeserved is maybe right, since many seem perfectly willing to pass up $40,000 in green subsidies and tax savings?