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Published on October 19th, 2019 | by Paul Fosse


Norway Update: Tesla & Chinese EVs Could Spell Doom For Legacy Automakers

October 19th, 2019 by  

Here at CleanTechnica, we have been following Norway closely, since this is the first country to hit the tipping point where EVs and PHEVs have become the default purchase for regular people instead of the exception, due to a generous combination of incentives and long history of awareness raising. My last article on Norway highlighted the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus coming to the country, which hasn’t taken off as I thought it might — most are still willing to pay a bit more for the Model 3 Long Range. This article from May highlighted a local story about a large Mercedes dealer in Oslo reporting plummeting sales, resulting in layoffs. Today, a local outlet speculates the end for some car brands that are behind in electrifying their lineup.

The article mentions the news that two new Chinese automakers are coming to Norway next year. That is in addition to Chinese brands Chery, MG, and Volvo/Polestar. Of course, the Tesla Model 3 is the best selling car in Norway now (by far), and Tesla looks to extend its leading automaker position when it can start shipping the Model Y to Norway, either in 2020 or 2021.

With all of these new cars coming to Norway, who are going to be the losers? Since the country has set an ambition that only electric cars will be sold from 2025, brands that have exciting and affordable electric vehicles will do well and brands that don’t will lose share or close up shop entirely. To be honest, why would someone buy a gas or diesel car today with the economics being so horrible for them?

The article mentions that Norway has to keep its incentives going to meet the 2025 goal. It also states that Norway isn’t an emerging market where overall sales are growing quickly, so when new brands take share, existing brands must lose a relatively similar number of sales.

The article doesn’t name brands that might leave the market, but Twitter user “Tesla Driver”/@M_xalher speculates that Mazda and Ford are the primary candidates, but Mercedes, Toyota, BMW, Opel, Renault, and others are at risk also. Renault has just refreshed its Zoe EV and sold over 2,000 units this year, so it shouldn’t need to leave the market. Similarly, Opel, with its Ampera-e (Chevy Bolt clone) should be able to stay there until it can build more EVs. But I agree the others are at risk.

Norway has been clear for years that it wants to move to 100% EVs quickly, and when manufacturers made good cars that showed it could happen, consumers came through and bought them. Now we will see how the market will punish the laggards that didn’t believe that Norway could do it. Many thought the country would have to give up its dream and allow gas and diesel sales to continue longer because either the cars couldn’t be built or people wouldn’t buy them, or the charging infrastructure or grid wouldn’t be ready. The doubters had many reasons that the country couldn’t convert to electric vehicles. The doubters have been proven wrong, and those who invested with the doubters must now pay the piper.

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About the Author

A Software engineer for over 30 years, first developing EDI software, then developing data warehouse systems. Along the way, I've also had the chance to help start a software consulting firm and do portfolio management. In 2010, I took an interest in electric cars because gas was getting expensive. In 2015, I started reading CleanTechnica and took an interest in solar, mainly because it was a threat to my oil and gas investments. Follow me on Twitter @atj721 Tesla investor. Tesla referral code: https://ts.la/paul92237

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