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New Data From Norway Shows Rapid Transition From Diesel To Electric

Norway is a leader in electric vehicle sales. Sales data shows how quickly the Volkswagen e-Golf supplanted the diesel powered Golf in that country in just 10 years.

The Volkswagen Golf has been a huge success story for Volkswagen. The Golf is a Goldilocks car. Not too big, not too small. Not too expensive, not too cheap. Not too fancy, not too plain. And when diesel engines ruled car sales in Europe — promoted by aggressive government policies after the OPEC embargoes in the 70s — the Volkswagen Golf TDI diesel was the most popular choice for Europeans. In Norway, the Golf was the best selling car for ten years in a row from 2008 until 2o017 and 90% had the diesel engine option.

But things have changed, once again due to aggressive policies at the national level. Today, no Norwegians are buying diesel Golfs. Instead, 97% of new Golfs sold in Norway are electrics. The shift is so dramatic that Voo lkswagen no longer sells the Golf with a diesel engine in Norway.

VW e-Golf courtesy Volkswagen.

According to Elbil, the magazine of the Norwegian Electric Car Association, the diesel Golf got a big boost from government policies that lowered registration taxes based on fuel economy, making the diesel cars less expensive to own. But starting a few years ago, concerns about tailpipe emissions led to changes in taxation that made gas powered cars more desirable. And then when the Volkswagen diesel cheating scandal broke, so did support for diesels in general. Within a year of introducing the e-Golf in Norway, it grabbed more than 50% of sales in that country.

Volkswagen Golf sales in Norway

Source: Information Council for the Road Traffic in Norway via Elbil

The e-Golf was such a huge hit in Norway that even models with conventional gasoline engines began to see a sales decline. Today, the e-Golf claims almost all Golf sales in Norway.

Volkswagen e-Golf sales monthly

Source: Information Council for the Road Traffic in Norway via via Elbil

The table below shows how the e-Golf compares to a gasoline powered Golf financially. The prices without taxes indicate the electric version is more expensive to build but cheaper than the gasoline versions to buy because of tax exemptions. The registration tax consists of three elements: CO2, NOx, and weight. The tax is calculated based on the car’s registered characteristics so that you can save money by choosing a car with fewer emissions and lower weight. Prices shown are in US dollars.

Cost to buy e-Golf vs gas Golf in Norway

Credit: Elbil

Deliveries of the all new Volkswagen ID.3 have now begun in Norway, so it will be interesting to watch the trend between the e-Golf and the ID.3. Given that the ID.3 is built on an all new dedicated electric car chassis, we can expect shoppers in Norway will find it a very appealing choice, supported once again by strong government policies. Norway is the future of electric mobility. What happens there will be happening everywhere within a few years time.

Hat tip to Are Hansen, head of CleanTechnica’s Norway news desk.


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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.


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