Around 37% of all new personal vehicles sold in Norway last month were plug-in electric vehicles, according to recent reports.
That impressive figure didn’t just arrive out of nowhere, of course, the plug-in electric vehicle market in Norway has been growing rapidly in recent years — mostly as a result of the strong incentives for those who purchase and use electric vehicles (most notably free toll roads, exemption from a 25% VAT tax on new car purchases, access to bus lanes, and free parking) combined with EV technology maturing, a broad range of competitive EV options, and decades of EV awareness raising in Norway.
The better explain the effect of these incentives, it’s worth noting here that 5% of Norway’s cars are now electric, up from around 1% two years ago and nearly 0% before the incentives were on offer. (There are now 100,00 zero-emissions vehicles on the country’s roads.)
With recent trends in mind, Norway’s transportation minister recently publicly stated that it was “realistic” that sales of new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles could cease in the country by 2025.
The Economist provides some further background: “Norway first introduced tax perks to boost the electric-car market in the 1990s. But sales only sparked in the past 5 years or so after slicker vehicles with better batteries appeared. Now the country’s 5 million citizens constitute the most developed national market for electric cars anywhere. Christina Bu, who heads the country’s association for electric cars, expects 400,000 electric-only vehicles on the roads by 2020, and predicts 70% of new sales will be of zero-emission cars. As range increases and price falls, demand will rise faster.”
Another factor that will no doubt greatly help to increase electric vehicle adoption rates in the country is the improving availability of charging stations. One of the primary barriers to large-scale electric vehicle adoption is the fact that fast-charging stations aren’t as common as gas stations. As this changes, adoption rates should increase. This is particularly a problem in Norway, where many people live in apartments and don’t have access to private garages.
Images via Elbil.no