At some point in April, the Nordic nation of Norway will become the first country in the world with one electric vehicle on the road for every 100 cars. Last September Norwegian auto buyers took to the Tesla Model S in droves and the electric vehicle topped monthly sales charts. In October, the zero emissions Nissan LEAF was the best seller. There are now nearly 24,000 plug-in electric cars registered, and EVs account for more than three percent of car sales. The LEAF currently dominates the market – so far in 2014 there have been 1,478 LEAF’s sold to Tesla’s 563 units moved. How did the snowy nation of more than 5 million become the global leader in the electric vehicle market? Generous government incentives via a program called EV Norway.

Image © Helena Normark

The Parliament of Norway aims to reach its goal of 50,000 zero emission vehicles by 2018 with incentives that include exemptions from purchase and road taxes, public parking fees and toll payments. Other benefits to EV ownership in Norway include access to bus lanes, free ferry rides and free charging at public stations — there are more than 4,500 charging stations across the country. The incentives will expire in 2018 or whenever the 50,000 EV target is met.

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An often heard criticism of EVs is that they could actually increase greenhouse gas emissions when using electricity from coal-fired power plants. That is not the case in Norway, where 98 percent of the nation’s power comes from 1,166 hydroelectric stations. (Hydroelectricity is the most widely used form of renewable energy in the world.) Norway’s goal by 2020 is to limit new passenger car fleet-average CO2 emissions to 85 grams per kilometer.

+ EV Norway


Lead image via Jacob Morgan

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