Norway is pushing to end the sales of fossil-fuel powered vehicles by 2025.
In a development that underscores the real potential of the EV market, nearly a third of all new cars sold in Norway in 2018 were pure electric. This new world record and milestone comes as Norway strives to end sales of fossil-fuel powered vehicles by 2025.
In its bid to slash carbon emission and significantly reduce air pollution, Norway has exempted battery driven cars from most taxes and is offering free parking and charging points for EVs.
As per a statement by the independent Norwegian Road Federation (NRF), the sales of electric cars have risen by 31.2% in 2018, up by 20.8% from 2017 and by 5.5% from 2013. Sales of fossil fuel vehicles have dipped significantly in the country.
“It was a small step closer to the 2025 goal,” by which time Norway’s parliament wants all new cars to be emissions-free, said Oeyvind Solberg Thorsen, head of the NRF, in a business conference.
Despite the massive jump in adoption of EVs, Thorsen cautioned that there was still a long way to go since two-thirds of nearly 148,000 cars that were sold in 2018 were powered by fossil fuel or were hybrids.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), which uses a different methodology in assessing the adoption of electric vehicles, which includes hybrid cars, Norway’s share of EVs had risen by 39% in 2017.
In contrast. The adoption of EVs in China and in the United States in 2017 was a meager 2.2% and 1.2% respectively, as per IEA data.
On the other side of the coin, according to the head of Norway’s car importers’ federation, Erik Andresen, the boom for electric cars have dented Norway’s tax revenues, thus setting the stage for future reforms which could raise cash for the 5.3 million population.
As per the NRF data, new car sales in Norway fell by 6.8% to 147,929 vehicles with Nissan’s upgraded Leaf electric car being the top seller. Other carmakers in the top-selling list include full-sized sedans and SUVs from Tesla, and small cars from BMWs and Volkswagen’s stables.
The sales of pure electric cars have surged by 40% in 2018 to 46,092 vehicles. The sales of diesel cars fell by 28% while the sale of petrol driven cars fell by 17%. The sales of hybrids which cannot be plugged for charging fell by 20%.
According to the Institute of Transport Economics (ITE), a consultancy, it is unlikely that Norway will be able to attain its 2025 goal.
“Strictly speaking I don’t think it’s possible, primarily because too many people don’t have a private parking space and won’t want to buy a plug-in car if they can’t establish a charging point at home,” said Lasse Fridstroem, an economist with ITE. “We may be able to get to a 75 percent (market share), provided that the tax breaks are maintained”.
However, the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association (NEVA), a lobby group, predicted that a 100% market share was feasible.
“We know that charging access is a real barrier … and there’s also a risk that not enough cars become available,” said Christina Bu, head of NEVA while adding that some customers must wait for a year or more before their electric vehicle is delivered.