Electric car sales have been booming in Norway, largely thanks to the many strong incentives there to buy one. In the US, electric and hybrid vehicle sales for 2012 made up only 0.6% of new vehicle sales, but in Norway they topped 5.2%.
Total sales for EVs reached 50,000 for all of 2012 in the US, with its large population of 315 million. While Norway, with its population of only 5 million, sold over 10,000 EVs in the same time period.
Electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf are very popular in Norway, and there are more reservations for Tesla’s Model S there than anywhere else in the European market.
The simple reason for the popularity of EVs in Norway is price. Typically, EVs are a good bit more expensive than conventional cars. “But, in a nation where high car taxes are the norm, the Norwegian government doesn’t levy import taxes on EVs,” Autoblog Green writes. “The competitive pricing has helped the Nissan Leaf become 13th best selling vehicle in Norway. The country also has a long history with EVs, and it’s common to see Revas, Kewet Buddies and many other EVs on the streets of Oslo, the capitol.”
There are also many governmental policies that contribute to the high rate of EV adoption there, including: being allowed to drive in the bus lane, free parking in many areas in the city, and avoiding the congestion charges that conventional car owners are subject to. There is also a highly developed infrastructure in the country, with more than 3,500 charging posts and 100 fast-charging stations in the small nation.
The fast rate of change in Norway shows what could be possible in the US, or at the very least some regions of it, if similar incentives were adopted. With such a high percentage of CO2 emissions coming from the internal combustion engines of cars, a rapid switch over to electric and hybrid vehicles would be very valuable in limiting the most negative effects of future climate change.