Norways EV Tipping Point

Norway’s EV Tipping-Point Is Here

By Roy L Hales

Prior to the introduction of supportive government policies, most battery electric vehicles (BEV) were in Oslo, Norway. In March 2014, one percent of the vehicles on the roads were electric. Five years later, in March 2019, 58.4% of new vehicle purchases were electric (BEV & hybrid). Zach Shahan of Clean Technica writes that last month, 38% of the sales were fully electric and another 25% hybrids. Norway’s EV Tipping-Point is here. 

Norway's EV Tipping Point
Christina Bu, Secretary General of the Norwegian Electric Car Association by Norsk Elbilforening vi Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)

What Norway’s EV Tipping-Point Means

“We are pretty sure we are going to reach 50 percent market share in total this year. Maybe even pass it, which is pretty amazing,” says Christina Bu, head of the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association.

She added, “Norway shows the whole world that fully electric cars can replace petrol and diesel cars and become an important contribution to combat CO2 emissions, as well as relieving local air from other harmful gases caused by burning fossil fuels.”

“The fresh BEV records are also good news for the used car market, as ever more cars become available at reasonable price levels. We are now aiming for 1.2 million BEVs on Norwegian roads by 2025, which is a little more than five times today’s number.”

Click here to access Zach Shahan’s analysis of Tesla’s penetration into Norway. Electric vehicles are in bold type above, and there are notations for models that come in gas or electric. He writes, “#2 on the list is the Volkswagen Golf at 7% market share, and the #3 Nissan LEAF is another sizable step down to 4.2% market share. Not too shabby, but clear levels below the #1 Model 3. The Golf sales includes electric Golfs and non-electrics, but most should be the electric version.”

Government Legislation

Government legislation lies at the heart of this transition. Parliament passed legislation stating that only cars with zero emissions can be sold after 2025. A recent poll found that many people are switching to electric because of the discounted or free toll passes. Providing there are at least two people in the vehicle, EVS are allowed to use bus lanes and do not have to pay any more than 50% of the normal rate for parking, toll roads and ferries. 

Taxes for weight, CO2 and NOx emissions are part of every new vehicle sale. This makes EVs more competitive. A  VW e-Golf, for example, is now slightly less expensive than its gas guzzling counterpart – even though there is a more than €10,000 difference in the import price.  

Norway's EV Tipping Point
Dedicated parking lot for EVs in Oslo, Norway by mariordo59 via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)


Some challenges have arisen as a result of the rapid adoption of electric vehicles. 

More than 70% of the vehicle owners in Oslo, as well as Oppland, Vestfold and Buskerud counties, are periodically forced to que up at fast charging stations. 

“Today there are around 1,950 fast chargers in Norway. We need to build about 1,200 a year to keep pace with the growth in electric car sales,” says Bu.

One of Norway’s biggest insurers reports that EVs have 20% more accidents – because new owners are not used to their fast acceleration.

All new EVs and hybrids must be equipped with sound, to alert pedestrians of their presence.

Top photo credit: Tesla Model X – which captured 12.4% of Norway’s market share in July by mariordo59 via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)

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