Over 50% of new car registrations in Norway during 2017 were registrations of plug-in electric vehicles or hybrids, new data from the independent Norwegian Road Federation (OFV) has revealed.
In other words, the country’s substantial subsidies for electric vehicles and hybrids, when combined with the rapidly improving state of the market, seems to be having the intended effect.
To be more specific — the market-share held by electric vehicles and hybrids rose to 52% in 2017 in Norway, up from 40% in 2016. And in December, plug-in vehicles alone surpassed 50% market share — for the first time. For the full year, fully electric cars had a market share of 20.8% and PHEVs had 18.4%.
“No one else is close,” stated OFV head Oeyvind Solberg Thorsen, when speaking about the country’s high electric vehicle and hybrid market-share. “For the first time we have a fossil-fuel market share below 50%.”
There’s a little bit of extra enthusiasm there, as hybrids are still fossil fuel cars — they just use the fuel more efficiently — but the achievement is still hugely better than any other country has reached. (A side note, though: how many countries possess fossil fuel reserves as substantial as Norway’s, coupled with a very small population, thereby allowing for heavy subsidization of EVs? This is not to take away too much from the accomplishment, but simply to say that such success won’t be easily transplanted to poorer regions.)
Here are some more core stats from Norway’s EV progress (sent our way by the Norwegian EV Association, aka Norsk elbilforening):
◊ There are now more than 140,000 fully electric cars (BEVs) on Norwegian roads. When plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) are added, the number of electric cars surpasses 200,000.
◊ In December 2017, the market share of plug-in passenger cars (BEV and PHEV) reached 50% for the first time. BEVs accounted for 27.5% and PHEVs added another 22.5%. No other country appears to be anywhere close to such an achievement, but a couple of them could potentially get there in a couple of years with sustained or stronger progressed.
◊ The two most popular cars in Norway in 2017 were fully electric cars, according to the Association’s examination of the 20 most popular passenger cars in Norway. The #1 spot went to the Volkswagen e-Golf and the #2 to the BMW i3 (perhaps again highlighting the wealth of the country). The Tesla Model X was #4 and the Tesla Model S #7. (Did we mention Norway is rich?)
◊ In total, 6 of the top 20 cars were fully electric, 4 were plug-in hybrids, and only 6 of the 20 are not available as a BEV or PHEV.
With regard to incentives, Norway currently offers numerous tax exemptions, free parking/tolls, ferry use, etc., to buyers of electric cars — there aren’t any countries out there currently offering incentives as broad as those.
Also noteworthy is that Norway gets essentially all of its electricity via large-scale hydroelectric facilities — meaning that air pollution and emissions problems/goals have to be tackled via the transportation sector.
As a reminder here, Norway is currently pursuing the achievement of a non-binding goal that would see all cars sold in the country by 2025 required to be 100% electric (zero emissions).
With that in mind, the market share held by all-electric vehicles in Norway during 2017 rose to 21%, from 16% in 2016.
There were 41,638 new BEV registrations (including 8,558 imported second-hand BEVs) in Norway in 2017, approximately 12,000 units more than 2016. Here’s a deeper look (stats from The Norwegian Road Federation, via The Norwegian EV Association):
2017: 20.8% (33,025 new)
2016: 15.7% (24,222 new)
2015: 17.1% (25,779 new)
2014: 12.5% (18,090 new)
2013: 5.5% (7,882 new)
“Our optimistic prediction one year ago was 40,000. So we can say that it was a pretty accurate tip,” said Norway EV Association Secretary General Christina Bu. “If the long waiting time for preordered BEVs had been avoided, many more BEVs would have been registered last year. This is a bottleneck, as market demand is ever growing,” she added.