Norway reaches rare milestone of 100,000 all-electric vehicles on the roads, wants 400,000 by 2020


Norway, a global leader in electric vehicle adoption, announced that it reached the milestone of 100,000 all-electric vehicles on the roads – something only a few countries can claim and certainly none of the size of Norway (~5.2 million people). It’s important to note here that we are talking about all-electric zero-emission vehicles (BEVs) and not just plug-in vehicles.

Despite this important milestone and being the global leader, BEVs only represent 3% of the vehicles on the road in Norway. The country has one of the most aggressive timelines to convert its entire fleet to zero-emission and it hopes its electric vehicle policies will inspire other countries, but the exploit also highlights how difficult it is to convert a national car fleet.

Nonetheless, we need to celebrate progress and 100,000 electric cars (or 3% of the fleet) represents a reduction of approximately 200,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, according to the Norwegian EV Association.

With over 40,000 members, Norway’s electric vehicle association is the largest in the world – showing that they don’t only lead in EV adoption, but also in EV activism.

They organized a celebration of the milestone with all the BEV models sold in the country appearing in order starting with the most popular – as you can see in the picture above, the VW e-Golf first, followed by the Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model S, BMW i3 and so on.

A myriad of EV incentives helped Norway’s vehicle adoption and several of those incentives, like 25% VAT tax exemption, were set to phase out after the country reaches 100,000 vehicles, but as we reported earlier this year, they passed an initiative to keep the VAT exemption for electric vehicles until 2020.

Christina Bu, Secretary General of the Norwegian EV Association, argues that incentives need to be maintained in order to keep the momentum and achieve the government’s goals:

“Norwegian politicians need to sit tight and continue the proven recipe for success. This means offering substantial benefits to zero emissions car buyers”

Norway set the goal for 100% of new car sales to be zero-emission vehicles starting in 2025. As of September 2016, 28.8% of new car sales were plug-in electric vehicles and all-electric cars have a 19.0% market shares – significantly more than any other country, but still far from 100%.

The government incentives serve as a bridge until more mass-produced electric vehicles, like Tesla’s upcoming Model 3, make it to market and reduce the entry price to decent long-range electric cars.

Bu says that automakers are turning to Norway to learn more about the electric vehicle demand and she hopes other government will be inspired by Norway’s success with electric vehicle adoption:

“Norway inspires other countries to implement similar measures, and we show the international automotive industry how to create consumer demand for electric cars. We get ever more proof supporting this notion”

Norway’s next goal: 400,000 all-electric vehicles by 2020. Bu argues that’s what they need to achieve in order for the country to stay on track with the goals set by the parliament.

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