February 2023 Norway Passenger Auto Registrations - WD

Norway’s Plugins Continue To Grow, Tesla Model Y Bestseller

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February saw Norway’s plugin electric vehicle share continue to grow to 90.1%, from 86.1% year on year. All the growth came from full electrics, whilst plugin hybrids lost share. Overall auto volume was 7,439 units, down some 9% YoY. The bestselling vehicle was the Tesla Model Y.

February’s 90.1% overall plugin share comprised 83.1% full electrics (BEVs), and 7.0% plugin hybrids (PHEVs). These shares compare with 86.1%, 75.6%, and 10.5%, YoY.

Overall auto sales recovered to close to seasonal norms in February, from the historic low of January. That low came as a hangover effect of new tax policies active from January 1st, which had pulled-forward a large number of auto sales into November and December.

With the new tax policies further disincentivising combustion-only sales, their combined share in February fell to 4.4%, almost a new record low. Their cumulative share since the policy change sits at 5.5%, and likely will steadily fade to consistently under 5% in the next few months.

The new equilibrium across BEVs, PHEVs, and plugless hybrids (HEVs), remains to be seen in the coming few months. One might hope that PHEVs > HEVs > combustion-only vehicles, and that BEV growth will continue to compress all of the others. Let’s see how it plays out this year — whatever the short term variabilities, the long term trend is abundantly clear, seen in the graph below.

Best Selling BEVs

Tesla, with the Berlin Gigafactory now cranking out some 18,000 units per month (and still ramping), was able to deliver 1,296 units of the Model Y to Norway in February, taking the top spot.

With early production snafus now seemingly largely resolved, the still-newish Toyota BZ4X finally put in a decent performance in February, with 543 units, gaining 2nd place.

In third (and fourth), were the Volkswagen ID.3 (and ID.4).

There was little other news concerning the top 20. Having been largely AWOL since September, the Tesla Model 3 regained a respectable ranking in February, with 272 units, taking 7th. Other models in the top 20 saw mostly small shuffles in position.

Lower down the ranks, some newcomer models gained traction. The new Nio EL7, Nio’s next generation of large luxury SUV, saw its first 23 deliveries in February. It will largely replace its older sibling, the Nio ES8, which was based on Nio’s previous generation of BEV technology, dating back to late 2018 (though launched in Norway in mid 2021).

The EL7 is 4.9 metres in length (~10 centimetres shorter than the ES8). It has more modern,  sleeker styling, and better aero, though it lacks the 7 seat option that the ES8 offered. The EL7 has faster acceleration (0-100 in 3.9 seconds), and slightly faster charging performance (40 minutes 10% to 80% on DC) compared to its older sibling. It too offers Nio’s battery swap service.

Starting with just 12 units, the new Hyundai Ioniq 6 sedan also saw its first customer deliveries in February. This is based on the same technology platform as the already popular Ioniq 5 SUV, but in a sleeker, low aero, sedan form. It is already very popular in the home market of Korea, and can be expected to do well in Europe.

Let’s now look at the 3 month picture:

Unsurprisingly, the Tesla Model Y has a large lead, over the Volkswagen ID.4 in second, and the Volvo XC40 in third.

Here are the main climbers since the previous 3 month period:

Apart from the Tesla Model 3’s ups and downs mentioned above, there were not many other significant changes in ranking over the period.


Norway’s economy is high and dry relative to every other country in Europe, as we first discussed last month. Its gas export revenue tripled in 2022 compared to 2021, earning it large revenues, thanks in part to a new “Baltic Pipe” opening to deliver gas to desperate European neighbours.

In a potential bombshell report, Pulitzer prize winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, renowned for exposing the Vietnam My Lai massacre to the world back in the late 1960s, has recently claimed to have inside sources that tell him that Norway and the US were responsible for the September 2022 sabotage explosion of Germany’s Nord Stream pipeline.

Whitehouse spokespersons have of course denied any such claims on the part of the US, calling them “utterly false and complete fiction,” and the Norwegian government has called them “nonsense”. Sweden refused to release the findings of its October 2022 investigation, citing “national security“.

A few German politicians (from across the political spectrum) have raised questions about Germany’s inaction over the attacks, (e.g. Sevim Dağdelen), in the face of deafening silence from most of Europe’s news media and most politicians, typified by the Swedish response noted above.

It may be years or decades before the majority of us find out which country was in fact responsible (and note that most European intelligence agencies have already concluded that it was probably not the Russians).

We in the CleanTechnica community are very concerned about environmental progress, so we can’t ignore that the natural gas leaks caused by the sabotage are estimated to have caused the equivalent of 14.6 million tons of CO2 in climate damage! How much is that? The average modern combustion-only car emits around 100 grams of CO2 per km, and travels ~12,000 km per year in Norway, so releases around 1.2 tons of CO2 per year.

The climate damage from the sabotage leaks therefore amounts to around 12.2 million cars driven for an entire year. Norway’s entire auto fleet is around 2.8 million vehicles, so this is equivalent to every Norwegian car being driven on combustion power, for more than 4 years.

In terms of climate cost/benefit, the damage therefore more than outweighs all of Norway’s emissions reduction progress in the EV transition, since it began.

For the sake of Norway’s green credentials, perhaps we should then hope that Hersh’s allegations, that Norway was involved in the sabotage, are simply not true. The alternative is just too horrifying to contemplate.

What are your thoughts on Norway’s EV transition? Please join in the discussion in the comments below.



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Dr. Maximilian Holland

Max is an anthropologist, social theorist and international political economist, trying to ask questions and encourage critical thinking. He has lived and worked in Europe and Asia, and is currently based in Barcelona. Find Max's book on social theory, follow Max on twitter @Dr_Maximilian and at MaximilianHolland.com, or contact him via LinkedIn.

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