Thought of the Day: Electric Car Incentives In Small Nations, City States and Crown Dependencies

Welcome to Thought of the Day! Join Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield as she poses a question for you all to think about and answer.

Today, we’re asking if small nations, city states and crown dependencies can (and should) offer electric vehicle incentives to encourage their citizens to dump the pump. Moreover, we want to know if these smaller-population governments and nations have the financial power they need to offer such incentives?

We’re also keen to know how you think we should fund a new web series being planned by Transport Evolved, and give you four options to choose from.

Watch the video above, and leave your thoughts in the Comments below.


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    We’d like acknowledgment here on the Isle of Man that zero emission vehicles exists and are arriving in increasing numbers.
    Incentives don’t have to be purely purchase grants. Thy could be lower vehicle licensing rates (road tax), reduced purchase tax for EV (VAT) which would encourage dealerships to sell EVs and keep the money on-island. I’m sure there are lots more that could be done without breaking the bank.

    • Martin Lacey

      Not living in a smaller country I hadn’t given this much thought. I’m guessing a well publicised Tesla 100D takes on any road legal car at the 1/4 mile challenge might convince some petrol heads that EV’s are cool with incentives running of the back of that event. As you host the TT would it be worthwhile to open with an Electric Bike race? Incentives help those who have got as far as thinking seriously about owning/running an EV. I suggest generating interest first might be the place to start!

      • Dan Brook

        Real have been over (I was lucky enough to get a test drive). As far as the TT goes we’ve had the TT Zero (previously TTXGP) since 2009.

  • Martin Lacey

    Good question Nikki. How long is a piece of string? The only good incentive is the one that works. Quantifying that for each nation is the first step. Have these small nations signed up to the Paris Accord? Are they demonstrating the political will – without it they stand no chance of converting to EV’s!

    What of Bhutan and Costa Rica… two small nations moving mountains with the right political will. Bhutan is the worlds only Carbon positive nation (they absorb more carbon than they produce) and Costa Rica ran on renewables for 360 days (or so) last year. Both those nations are now committing big time to EV’s. Norway is also a small nation by population – around 5 million (less than London)!

    • Dan Brook

      The Isle of Man hasn’t signed up to the Paris Accord in it’s own right (to my knowledge). This document ( states “UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependancies have not yet been consulted about ratification of the Agreement. The Treay can be extended to those territories after the UK has depisoted its instrument of ratification. The [UK] Government will be consulting them on this issue”. I don’t know if this consultation has taken place yet.

      And in terms of small nations I agree that Norway at around 5 million, or Ireland at 4.5 million are small nations but the Isle of Man is only about 85,000 people. Guernsey 62,000, Jersey about 100,000. So they are in a different league to us.

  • Albemarle

    If the island or small region can’t afford incentives, they can always use disincentives e.g. tax on ICE, tax on gasoline & diesel, very restrictive safety inspection standards like in Japan. Lots of ways to get existing fuel burners off the road and encourage EVs without costing the government money.

    What, you say the government wants to be everybody’s friend? That’s when you do the normal thing; tax the snot out of everyone and give the money back only to those that are willing to play the game.

    Governments make the rules and people adapt their lives to them. In Ontario, the government is under tremendous pressure because they have screwed up royally on electricity. It’s clean but expensive. So what are they going to do to encourage EVs? Offer free charging at night. It’s worth even more to customers because the government has done such a bad job. Hard to lose when you hold all the cards; at least until the next election.

  • EVGuernsey

    No doubt financial incentives would help but in Guernsey, there are a number of complicating factors; if you take the auto industry, a lot of main dealer franchises also have fuel pump forecourts so selling EV’s eats into their revenue and they get less of the usual spin offs from servicing. Also car manufacturers don’t seem to differentiate the Channel Islands from the UK, or the mainland as we call it, yet electric cars couldn’t be better suited to a small place like Guernsey although narrow roads means the design of some larger models makes them a bit impractical. At least one dealer offers side mirror insurance to cover this problem!
    Another point is that with a speed limit of 35 mph, internal combustion cars are very inefficient as the engines often don’t warm up but the problem is worse with diesels with particulate filters that clog up on short journeys and yet they are still popular! Of course, electric vehicles make great sense!

    It’s a very democratic place so everyone has a say and with such a high proportion of islanders being drivers, some petrol heads make themselves very well heard. Add to this a strong motorcade lobby and a media slanted towards the status quo and you can see what electric vehicle enthusiasts are up against. Public transport is nothing like it is in towns and cities in the UK. so does not offer a realistic alternative for the vast majority of people. Cycling is popular but on a hilly island with narrow lanes, it’s not like Holland.
    In addition there is a lack of support or understanding in government circles for electric cars. Some still look at the revenue coming from fuel excise duty and don’t look at the real cost of the internal combustion car. It’s quite a narrow tax base and all others like health and education put pressure on government resources.
    I think incentives should apply to electric cars and equally to electric bikes, mopeds and motorbikes. There is a new vehicle registration charge put in place this year which is a step in the right direction.