Data reveals that more than half of all new cars sold in Norway last year featured electrified powertrains.
Zero-emission cars – mainly battery electric vehicles and a small number of hydrogen-powered cars – made up more than a fifth (20.9 percent) of new cars sales in 2017, according to figures released by the Norwegian Road Federation yesterday.
Meanwhile, hybrids accounted for 31.3 percent of new car sales, including 18.4 percent for plug-in hybrids.
Norway is leading the way in electric cars, with an ambitious goal of selling only zero-emission new cars by 2025. That’s more radical than the UK’s own target, which will only see traditional petrol and diesel cars banned in 2040.
The country is working towards this goal by heavily taxing conventional petrol and diesel cars, as well as offering a number of benefits for owners of electric cars. As well as reduced tax, they can also enjoy free use of tolls, ferries and parking, recharging in public car parks and even the right to drive in bus lanes.
With 98 percent of electricity produced in Norway coming from hydropower, the country’s electric car fleet is seen as being one of the cleanest in the world. This is despite the country being a huge supplier of crude oil.
‘Tesla Tax’ axed
Critics of Norway’s tax-free incentives for electric cars have said they simply allow rich households to buy new plug-in cars on the cheap. In response to this, Norway’s minority government attempted to introduce a so-called ‘Tesla tax’ last year, clawing back incentives on new electric vehicles weighing more than two tonnes – i.e. the Tesla Model X. This lasted for six weeks before the controversial plan was scrapped.
Despite the popularity of electric cars in Norway, the country’s electric vehicle association says meeting the 2025 target will still prove difficult.
“The goal of 2025 is ambitious,” its secretary general, Christina Bu told the Guardian.
“We need to go from 21 percent market share to 100 percent in seven years, which means we still have a way to go even if it’s going in the right direction and the increase compared to 2016 is satisfactory.”
There are long lead times for new electric vehicles in Norway, said the organisation, and manufacturers are slow to meet the high demand.
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