France powers ahead in electric vehicle prep – new OSV index reveals

  • France installed more than a third more electric vehicle charging points in the last year than anywhere else
  • Norway holds the greatest market share of electric vehicles (34.7%)
  • The UK comes in joint third place for electric vehicle adoption and infrastructure

Electric vehicles are slowly becoming an established part of the world’s transport ecosystem, but while Norway is known as the green car capital, it might surprise some people to learn that France is leading the way in electric vehicle infrastructure. According to the new Electric Car Index from OSV Ltd, the UK’s leading independent vehicle professionals, the French installed more than a third more electric vehicle charging points (11,987) in the last year than anywhere else in the world – only Germany (ranked fifth overall with 1.1% market share and a single buyer incentive) came close, with 7,937 – putting them at the top of OSV’s electric vehicle index.

Using a variety of data to rank each country for its electric vehicle adoption and preparedness – including the market share of new electric vehicle sales, the number of government incentives on offer to the public, and the number of charging points installed in the last 12 months – OSV created a metric to provide a definitive Index ranking the top ten countries. While France currently only boasts 1.5% of the global market share of new electric car sales, its significant recent investment in infrastructure has secured it first place position, ahead of Norway (second place), with its massive 34.7% market share. Norway also offered buyers three different incentives to make the move to electric, which may have some correlation with the number of vehicles purchased.

What might also surprise some people is the fact that along with Switzerland, the UK has managed to take joint third place in OSV’s index, with two  governmental incentives, 1.7% of the market share, and 2,833 new charging points installed in the last year. Switzerland’s figures are made up of: 2% market share, 2 incentives and 2,716 new charging points.

The remaining five countries to make the top ten are:

  • Joint sixth place, Sweden and Belgium
  • Eighth place, USA
  • And bringing up the rear, Finland and Canada take joint ninth place


OSV joint company director, Debbie Kirkley comments: “The UK has come in for some criticism in recent years, for the time that it has taken to create the infrastructure necessary to facilitate the switch to more environmentally-friendly vehicles, so it’s quite a pleasant surprise to find that we are now ranked joint third for electric vehicle preparedness and adoption. However, it should not lead to complacency.”

“The fact that France – Paris, in particular – has struggled so terribly with air pollution in recent years may account for the French Government’s serious investment in electric charging points. But, while it may seem disproportionate, given the country’s current market share, it could be a canny business move of the ‘if you build it, they will come’ variety. People will only start buying – or renting – electric vehicles in significant numbers if they can be confident in their ability to charge them wherever they go. For the moment, the French are really powering ahead in that area.”

“The 2040 petrol and diesel ban will come around faster than we imagine, so it’s great to see the future electric cars selection increasing to provide for the demand. From small electric cars to electric SUVs leading brands are providing for all.”

Editor’s notes:

OSV are the UK’s best independent vehicle supply professionals, providing every funding method imaginable. Trading since 1997, they have the experience to provide their customers with the highest level of service and are proud to be members of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association.

Customers can visit the OSV website – https://www.osv.ltd.uk/ – or call 01903 538835 for help finding the right car and the right financial package to suit their needs.


Country Rank
Norway 2
Germany 5
Finland 9


PR Contact:

Aylish Jarvie

Rachel Richardson


  • Sean Fitzsimons| 23rd May 2018 at 4:56 pm Reply

    Hi there,
    Would it be possible to obtain your dataset for each country you included and the number of additional charging points they installed?

  • BRANQUET| 27th March 2018 at 2:34 pm Reply

    Hello. Great post. Although i’m just wondering why China is not quoted here (Chinese seems to have installed about Circa 200.00 chargin site already – source Reuters) . Glaring omission or is there an explanation ?
    Thx – Xavier

    • Abbie Rawcliffe| 28th March 2018 at 3:08 pm Reply

      Hi Xavier, thanks for your comment, we looked at a variety of factors – chargers per capita, how many had been installed in the last 12 months, incentives offered by the government etc. China fell just outside of our list but of course, if we used a different set of criteria the results would alter! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  • Stephen Brown| 26th March 2018 at 11:46 am Reply

    As an EV owner resident in France I’m not surprised by this survey result. One point you don’t mention is the capacity of the charging points. In France, most of the publicly available ones appear to be @ 18-22 kW AC Tri, a compromise position. How would your survey work if you differentiated between “slow, mid, accelerated and rapid” charging stations?

    • Abbie Rawcliffe| 28th March 2018 at 3:08 pm Reply

      Hi there, yes this is an interesting point and one not covered by our index – an interesting piece of research for next time!

  • a-kindred-soul| 24th March 2018 at 10:30 pm Reply

    This information hits me as curious. I live in France and made several large trips with my electric car in France and western Europe during the last three years and my impression is that countries like Switzerland, Germany and Holland are much better equiped then France in the field of usable charging infrastructure. Yes, in France many charging stations are built. But most of them are slow chargers. And they are put in the wrong places (slow chargers do only make sense where you charge at night (at or near home, hotels, etc.) and where you work (workplace chargers). And, very important, mostly you cannot use the chargers because you have to have a special badge, which is mostly extremely local (department, sometimes even municipality).

    What does a large number of chargers (and a first spot) mean if they are the wrong ones, on the wrong spots and you cannot use them because you cannot pay them?

    • Abbie Rawcliffe| 28th March 2018 at 3:07 pm Reply

      Thanks for your comment – very interesting to hear the perspective of someone using an electric car in France currently. We didn’t differentiate between slow and fast charging points so this could be a great piece of research for the future.

  • Marcel van Dijk| 24th March 2018 at 8:13 am Reply

    This is utter nonsense. France may lead in number of charging points, but is hardly leading in EV infrastructure. First of all, the majority of those charging points are slow chargers installed by local government bodies specifically tailored to the Renault Zoe (state aid, anyone?). Secondly, most fast chargers along the motorways, essential for long-distance travelling, have been installed by Corri-Door, which is only too happy to accept the European funds to install them, but couldn’t care less about maintaining them. Instead of just counting charge points from the comfortable position of your desk chair, I suggest you talk to people who need to use the “great” EV infrastructure in France on a daily basis. Look around in all the online forums and you’ll quickly see a difference picture. Or take a look at a Dutch EV owner’s eye-opening experience on a recent trip to France, that he recorded and posted on YouTube in two parts: An EV Nightmare in France and The EV Nightmare Through France Part II. France still has a lot of work to do if it wants to “power ahead” in the EV charging infrastructure

    • Abbie Rawcliffe| 28th March 2018 at 3:02 pm Reply

      Thanks for taking the time to comment – we could well look at doing a deeper piece of research around the speed of charging points in each country in future.

    Leave comments

    Your email address will not be published.*

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Back to top