Electric cars have continued to grow in popularity in Ukraine last year.
A total of 8,541 new and used electric vehicles were registered in 2021, an almost 20% increase compared to 2020, according to the Federation of Automotive Employers. Used vehicles outnumbered new ones seven to one.
Ukraine now has about 30,000 electric vehicles on the roads. The number of newly-registered ones has been growing each year since 2016.
“It is a global trend,” Yevgeniy Mudzhyri, an automotive expert and owner of the Autogeek news portal, told the Kyiv Independent. “And whether Ukraine wants it or not, the country will follow the trend.”
Still, electric cars occupy a very modest share of the Ukrainian market. A total of 104,000 new cars were registered in the country in 2021. Only 1% of those were electric.
In contrast, in Norway, 65% of the 176,276 new vehicles sold in 2021 were fully electric, Reuters reported. Norway, a country of 5 million people, is a European leader in the adoption of electric cars.
The popular Nissan Leaf, created over a decade ago, continued to dominate the Ukrainian market. Every fourth electric car registered in the country in 2021 was a Leaf.
Used car prices for Nissan’s bestseller ranged from $9,500 for 2014 models to $28,000 for 2020 models. New Leafs, which start at $32,000, are beyond the price range for many Ukrainians, whose average monthly salary was $530 in December 2021.
Ukrainians’ other top choices in 2021 included the Tesla Model 3 (827 registered) and Chevrolet Bolt (762 registered).
The above three models are responsible for almost 55% of the country’s electric car market.
Prices for electric cars are unlikely to come down due to a shortage of microchips and metals for the production of batteries.
Still, Mudzhyri expects sales to continue to grow this year. He observed that many dealers in Ukraine are ready to import budget Chinese electric cars.
At the same time, the rise in electricity prices may negatively “affect the desire of Ukrainian car owners to switch from fuel consumption to electricity consumption.”
Besides, owning an electric vehicle in Ukraine may come with a risk. Oleg Nazarenko, head of the Association of Automobile Importers and Dealers, expects a spike in thefts of the car parts from electric vehicles.
“If previously thieves could not find much except a first-aid kit and a fire extinguisher inside an ordinary car, now they can profit from stealing at least a charging cable, which costs around $400-500,” Nazarenko wrote.