Ein grünes Elektroauto auf einer erdigen Straße im Wald

16.08.21 Electric boom in the far north Author: François Baumgartner • Reading time: 2 min.

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Summary

Electric driving in Norway: for years the country has been a pioneer of climate-neutral mobility. In 2020, more than half of all newly registered vehicles had a fully electric powertrain. And from 2025 onward, only zero-emission cars can be registered.

If the transition to climate-neutral mobility were a Formula E race, Norway would be in pole position. In 2020, 77,000 electric vehicles were sold there, which represents almost 54 percent of all newly registered cars. If plug-in hybrids are included, this figure reaches 75 percent. There are several reasons for this, in particular generous state subsidies, driving privileges, and a comprehensive charging infrastructure.

Probably the most important purchase incentive is the absence of the luxury tax (up to 45 percent on premium models) and value added tax (25 percent) on pure electric vehicles. In addition, the cost of ferry tickets and the tax on company cars have been reduced by 50 to 60 percent. On top of that, owners of BEVs can use toll bridges and tunnels free of charge.

Many cities have also abolished the congestion charge and parking charges for electric vehicles. In Oslo there is even a parking garage exclusively for BEVs. Furthermore, electric cars can use the bus lanes in cities. All of this makes electric mobility very attractive for Norwegian citizens. On the other side of the coin, the government is actively trying to shut down the market for cars with combustion engines. From 2023 onward, cars with diesel or gasoline engines cannot be registered as taxis in the greater Oslo area. And by 2022, state vehicle fleets must be fully electric.

The illustration shows a road with several cars surrounded by trees. An electric car overtakes in the bus lane.

In Norway, electric cars enjoy a number of privileges (Illustration by Jörn Block)

Comprehensive network of charging points

In Norway, electric car drivers can also charge their vehicles quickly in many locations, even in rural areas. There are currently around 19,100 charging points, which is one for every 147 registered vehicles. This puts Norway in second place in Europe behind the Netherlands (82,300 charging points, one for every 109 cars). Germany has around 47,100 charging points or one for every 1,014 cars, which relegates it to 12th place in Europe.

Differences in the charging infrastructure

Norway and the Netherlands have the lowest number of registered cars per charging point

Norway and the Netherlands have the lowest number of registered cars per charging point

Range anxiety (rekkeviddeangst) is no longer a problem in Norway. On almost all the main highways there are at least two fast charging stations every 50 kilometers. It’s no surprise then that Norwegians consider their electric cars to be a reliable, smart form of everyday transport, rather than just useful second or third cars. And in contrast to many other countries, the electricity in Norway is genuinely green. It comes from around 1,600 hydropower plants, which produce as much as 95 percent of the country’s electricity. One useful side effect is that green electricity is much cheaper than fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel.

400,000 electric cars by the end of 2021

The boom in electric vehicles is forecast to continue this year. With a population of only 5.4 million, Norway is already in fourth place worldwide when it comes to sales of BEVs. But it also has ambitious targets. By the end of 2021, it aims to have a total of 400,000 electric vehicles registered. And by 2025, all newly registered vehicles must be zero-emission. Norway is forging ahead with electric mobility.

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