40% Of New Cars In Oslo = Fully Electric Cars, 20% = Plug-In Hybrids

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Before jumping into the broader Norway electric car story from Steve Hanley below, there are some amazing highlights out of Oslo that helpful CleanTechnica reader Are Hansen pointed out to us:

◊ 40% of new cars registered in Oslo in September were fully electric cars.

◊ 20% of new cars registered in Oslo in September were plug-in hybrids.

◊ 7.5% of cars living in Oslo are now electric (~22,500). The total number of electric cars in the city is projected to nearly double by 2020, “expected to rise to 40,000 by 2020, as the toll road entry fee for petrol and diesel cars increases (to around $5.5),” Are reports.

◊ Investments in EV charging infrastructure in the city continue to grow, with plans in the new budget to build 600 new charging stations in the city’s borders. “This means that during next year Oslo will have a total of 1500 slow and free charging points (mostly curbside charging poles) and 524 «semi fast chargers» (guess that means 22kW).”

◊ Ahead of the curve, Oslo is not forgetting about those living without a garage or at least private parking space where they can charge. “Included in the budget is NOK 20 million to support charging points in housing cooperatives/condos.” (That’s approximately $2.5 million.)

◊ “Buses on the west side motorway into Oslo have had problems being stuck in congestion. From tomorrow, a new HOV lane is opened on the stretch from Lysaker to Sandvika. The goal of the Norwegian Public Roads Administration is to reduce private car traffic by 25% to reduce pollution. During afternoon rush hours (from 2 til 6 p.m.) EVs only have access to the HOV lane if carrying at least two people, the rest of the time unlimited access.”

I find those figures and announcements both inspiring and depressing. They’re inspiring since they show what real EV leadership is and what it results in, but they’re also a bit depressing since no other country is close to Norway on the disruptive-tech S-curve.

Read on for the remainder of the news around Norway’s fast-growing EV sales, courtesy Steve Hanley. —Zach

This story about electric car sales in Norway was first published by Gas2.

Norway may have the most aggressive collection of electric car incentives of any country. Not only are electric cars and plug-in hybrids exempt from most taxes at the time of purchase, but they also qualify for reduced tolls on the nation’s highways, lower fares or no cost at all on its many ferries, and free parking in most cities. Charging infrastructure is also quite robust. Although there is always room for improvement, there are more public chargers available for EV drivers than in most other European nations.

The combination works. Last month, 13,484 new passenger cars were registered in Norway, and 29% of them were electric cars. The numbers by manufacturer (for all types of cars) break down like this:

1. Volkswagen: 2,083 (-0.0%)
2. Tesla: 2,003 (+136.2%)
3. Toyota: 1,355 (-25.7%)
4. Volvo: 960 (+25.8%)
5. BMW: 872 (-26.9%)

The numbers for Tesla are astounding. Almost 900 were registered in the last week of September alone! Sales of the Model S (1,007) were up more than 300% from the same month last year. Model X deliveries totaled 996, a 66% increase.

“This is a development we have expected. Norwegians want big cars that are suitable for cabins and accommodate the whole family. Half of the car sales in Norway are large and medium-sized cars, and only Tesla offers electric car models of this size today. For many, this will still be the only electric car on the market that meets your needs for a while,” says Christina Bu, General Secretary of the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association.

The increase in EV sales was matched by a nearly 25% decline in sales of petrol- and diesel-powered cars in September (the former was down 13% January–September and the latter was down 21% in that period). That’s good news for Norway’s air quality. “The decline contributes to historically low emissions,” Bu says. “This is the right way. We know that Tesla has delivered an extra lot of cars this month, but at the same time there are also several who see that time is now ripe for switching to electric cars. We see the start of a mass market, but are still a little behind the necessary development to reach the goal of just selling zero-emission cars by 2025. “

When Bu says the country is a little bit behind, she is talking about charging infrastructure. In Oslo, a new plan will add 600 public chargers and target more chargers for people who live in apartment or condominium buildings. Today, there are about 22,500 electric cars in Oslo. That number is expected to grow to 40,000 by 2020.

The European Union suggests there should be one charger for every 10 electric cars on the road. “The most important thing now is that the development of available chargers keeps pace with the sharp increase in the number of electric cars,” says Christina Bu. The city of Oslo plans to have 1,500 Level 2 chargers and another 520 higher power (22 kW) chargers in operation by next year.

“It’s a good start, but it’s not enough in the long run for what’s going to be a historic shift for road transport in the city,” Bu says. “It is also vital that the municipality collaborates with commercial actors to build more quick chargers. The public can not finance all charging infrastructure alone, and we rely on growing a commercial market that provides for the volume and spread of charging services throughout the country.”

Drivers in Oslo and other cities are beginning to experience lines of other cars waiting to access the available chargers, a situation that is further driving the push to expand the EV charging infrastructure in Norway.

Hat tips to Are Hansen and Leif Hansen, who are not brothers, so far as we know! 

Photo credit: Norsk Elbilforening

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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