More than half of all new vehicles sold in Norway last year were either electric or hybrid – making the Nordic country the first in the world to reach this landmark.
Norway, a country whose wealth is based on fossil fuels, has become the world leader in electric cars. Around 50,000 or 31.3 per cent of new cars sold last year were hybrid, with both electric and petrol motors. Fully electric cars represents 20.9 per cent of all new sales in 2017. The country has a target of zero emissions for all new cars by 2025.
Norway’s original goal was to have over 100,000 electric vehicle on their roads by 2020, however, they have already achieved this goal last year, with more than 120,000 EVs on the Norwegian roads in February 2017.
“Carmakers are increasingly viewing Norway as a vision of tomorrow’s car market,” says Christina Bu, secretary-general of the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association.
However, problems are cropping up for policymakers – one of the most pressing issues is when and how to rein in the generous subsidies that have underpinned the boom, so that EVs can compete with petrol vehicles on an even ground.
“There is a challenge: how to find ways of slowly increasing taxation but still having very clear incentives to buy electric cars,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg told the Financial Times last year.
Currently there is no purchase or VAT tax when purchasing an EV or hybrid car there is also a generous 50 per cent discount for both fully electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids when purchasing them as a company car. In addition to these incentives, Norway has offered other enticing subsides and perks, such as no city tolls, free parking, free charging, and permission to drive in bus lanes.