Originally published on Cortes Currents.
Prior to the introduction of supportive government policies, most battery electric vehicles (BEV) were in Oslo, Norway. In March 2014, one percent of the vehicles on the roads were electric, while 21% of new vehicle sales were plug-in vehicles. Five years later, in March 2019, 58.4% of new vehicle purchases were fully electric. Zach Shahan of CleanTechnica writes that in the first 7 months of the year, 38% of vehicle sales were fully electric and another 25% hybrids, 41% of them plug-in hybrids, putting the plug-in vehicle share at almost 50%. We appear to be witnessing an EV Tipping-Point in Norway.
What An EV Tipping Point In Norway Means
“We are pretty sure we are going to reach 50 percent market share in total this year. Maybe even pass it, which is pretty amazing,” said Christina Bu, head of the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association.
She added, “Norway shows the whole world that fully electric cars can replace petrol and diesel cars and become an important contribution to combat CO2 emissions, as well as relieving local air from other harmful gases caused by burning fossil fuels.”
“The fresh BEV records are also good news for the used car market, as ever more cars become available at reasonable price levels. We are now aiming for 1.2 million BEVs on Norwegian roads by 2025, which is a little more than five times today’s number.”
Government legislation lies at the heart of this transition. Parliament passed legislation stating that only cars with zero emissions can be sold after 2025. A recent poll found that many people are switching to electric because of the discounted or free toll passes. Providing there are at least two people in the vehicle, EVs are allowed to use bus lanes and do not have to pay any more than 50% of the normal rate for parking, toll roads, and ferries.
Taxes for weight, CO2, and NOx emissions are part of every new vehicle sale. This makes EVs more competitive. A VW e-Golf, for example, is now slightly less expensive than its gas guzzling counterpart — even though there is a more than €10,000 difference in the import price.
Some challenges have arisen as a result of the rapid adoption of electric vehicles.
More than 70% of the vehicle owners in Oslo, as well as Oppland, Vestfold, and Buskerud counties, are periodically forced to queue up at fast charging stations.
“Today there are around 1,950 fast chargers in Norway. We need to build about 1,200 a year to keep pace with the growth in electric car sales,” says Bu.
One of Norway’s biggest insurers reports that EVs have 20% more accidents, with their fast acceleration presumed to be one of the reasons for that.
All new EVs and hybrids must be equipped with sound effects, to alert pedestrians of their presence.