Norway has the highest number of electric cars in the world. But it seems that news is just getting onto people’s radars. If you didn’t notice, my story the other day about electric cars becoming the top sellers in Norway was a rather popular one. As of right now, it has received over 116,000 pageviews — definitely one of our best articles of the year. In that piece, I noted that I’d be sharing more of what I learned about Norway’s electric vehicle (EV) leadership and market in a handful of additional stories, and I used a chart from a study that I want to dig into now.
The chart I used (below), showed that the most important EV incentives for Norwegian EV owners (in order) were:
- Free toll roads
- No vehicle purchase tax
- Low fuel costs
- Access to bus lanes
- Free parking
- Low annual road fee
- Free charging & the EV charging network
- Free ferries
But there were a number of other interesting findings from this study, a study which garnered the responses of 1,858 EV users. I’ll just run down most of them through charts and brief comments. For even more, check out the full study.
Interestingly, EV ownership is spread all around the geographically large country. I anticipated it would be centered in just a few large cities, but it’s actually quite distributed.
Not very surprisingly, only 15% of the surveyed EV owners had just one car.
Importantly, EVs replace other cars. They are pulling people away from mass transit and human-powered transportation a little bit, but not to a great degree.
When asked how much an electric vehicle replaced a conventional car, 90% said completely or to a high degree. (Of course, 35% is far more than the 15% that own only one car, indicating a lot of room for people to ditch their extra cars.)
Matching the reality of EVs versus gasmobiles, the large majority (~90%) agree that their EVs have low running costs, and the majority agree that their EVs save them time. I’m actually curious about the 10% who didn’t agree that their EVs had low running costs. Norway has cheap electricity (from hydro power plants) and expensive gas — who would say that they don’t have low running costs? But I guess that 10% could more or less be people who switched from public transit, biking, walking, or carpooling. Or perhaps they’re just the negative type.
One of the most interesting ones to me: when asked why they switched to an electric car, a strong percentage did actually say to save the environment (29%). More in line with what I’d expect, most of the remaining respondents said to save money (41%) and to save time (22%).
Grooving with owner satisfaction surveys in the US, a whopping 91% of survey respondents were “very satisfied” with their electric vehicles, and they other 9% were at least “satisfied.” Only 7 respondents were less than satisfied, but that just amounts to a rounding error.
Asked to guess what is most important for others to buy electric vehicles, survey responses were quite mixed, but longer EV range and predictable EV policy were clearly number one and two. However, whether or not those really are the most important factors is anything but a certainty.
Importantly, 95% of owners can charge their cars at home over night (~85% at their own house and ~10% at a shared apartment building). This shows the need to roll out charging stations out more multi-family developments, and also to increase public and work charging stations enough that home charging isn’t so critical. We’ve seen similar results in the US, and it’s a expected finding.
There’s not much there that’s shocking, but it does help to confirm US EV survey findings and common assumptions, and there were a few minor surprises — for me at least.