The paper makes use of a recently developed total cost of ownership (TCO) methodology to assess the cost competitiveness of the best-selling battery electric vehicles (BEVs), hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), diesel and petrol cars in Norway and Italy, two countries at the antipodes for BEV uptake in Europe. The results of the TCO study show that in Norway BEVs are the most competitive amongst the four propulsion systems since they have the lowest average value for the annualized TCO/km, whereas in Italy BEVs are the least cost-competitive. In Norway the government encourages the purchase of BEVs by imposing much lower registration taxes than the very high applied to internal combustion engine vehicles, whilst in Italy BEV uptake is mostly supported by a decrease in the purchase price. The paper also unveils a negative relationship between the volume of each model sales and the corresponding annualized TCO/km, both for the joint database and, separately, for each country. Yet, looking at Norway, we show that the volume of car sales is positively associated with the purely electric propulsion system, but not with the annualized TCO/km, pointing to possible non-monetary motives leading consumers’ choices. The authors provide policy recommendations on fiscal and non-fiscal measures to support BEVs diffusion in countries such as Italy, where BEV uptake is low but with relevant potential.
Keywords: Total cost of ownership, battery electric vehicles, Italy, Norway.
Jel Code: R40, R41, R48.