Norway has long been a world leader in sales of electric vehicles. The country only has 5.3 million people, so the absolute numbers cannot compete with those of large countries. Despite that, it wasn’t until the first quarter of last year that Germany became the leader in number of electric cars sold in Europe and Germany has 15 times the population of Norway.
In percentage terms, almost one-third of all new cars sold in Norway last year ran on batteries. The country offers generous subsidies for buyers who opt to go electric. The government has set a goal of having all new cars be emission-free by 2025. Last year, three of the top five most popular new car models were electric: the Nissan Leaf, the BMW i3, and the Tesla Model X.
Tesla’s Model 3, which has shattered all records for electric car sales in the United States, has yet to go on sale in Norway. When the car becomes available there in the next few months, it is expected to generate very high sales figures.
The 31% market share for electric cars in Norway far exceeds that of most other countries. In the United States, for example, plug-in cars account for only about 2% of new car sales. Only Hong Kong and Iceland are also currently above 5% electric.
Norway’s role in all of this is rather convoluted. The country has copious hydroelectric power resources that provide virtually all of its electricity. Thus, electric cars in Norway are truly clean, green vehicles. On the other hand, Norway is the 15th largest producer of oil in the world and gets about 17% of its GDP from oil exports. Tackling climate change must ultimately deal with the emissions Norway continues to export.
Photo, posted October 3, 2018, courtesy of Flickr.