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Rethinking the spatiality of Nordic electric vehicles and their popularity in urban environments: Moving beyond the city?

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With a global transition to electric vehicles (EVs) slowly gaining traction, it is expedient to move the debate to issues connected to geography, space, and place. One of these emerging issues is the uptake of EVs in rural areas. This paper provides a spatial state of affairs in the Nordic region and it explores how EVs are perceived and argued to fit within rural-suburban-urban categories by users and potential adopters. To do so, it draws on a mix of original and secondary data: (1) a randomized survey among 4322 respondents, (2) 227 expert interviews, (3) eight focus groups conducted across Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway, and (4) geographically mapped municipal level vehicle registrations across Norway and Sweden. This data shows that while the uptake primarily takes place in (sub)urban regions, EVs are used in rural environments, partly for self-sufficiency reasons. After acknowledging that individual choices and circumstances dictate final purchase decisions, the paper concludes that planners and researchers should be aware off and, if possible, prevent that a skewed urbanized popularity keeps people elsewhere from looking at EVs as a viable option.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102557
JournalJournal of Transport Geography
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

    Research areas

  • Electric vehicles (EVs), Market segmentation, Nordics, Rural, Urbanization

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