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Why Norway is Leading the Way With Electric Vehicles

Why Norway is Leading the Way With Electric Vehicles

With more electric vehicles (EVs) per capita than any other country, Norway is a leading pioneer in the electrification of road transport. And with the goal of selling only zero-emission cars by 2025, they plan to soon speed ahead and become the EV capital of the world.

This may be odd to hear from the largest producer of oil in Western Europe. But for anyone who's visited the Scandinavian country, it will be no surprise. Most of the energy used within Norway is generated from renewable sources. An incredible 98 percent of the electricity sector relies upon hydropower and the nearly 1000 dams around the country.

So, in line with the nation’s already high green standards, it is actually most fitting to hear that over half of all new cars sold in 2017 in Norway were EVs. And as a result, in the words Oeyvind Solberg Thorsen, Chief of the Norwegian Road Federation, when considering its green car market, “No one else is close”.

Due to Norway's impressive progress in this area, no doubt other countries are looking to the nation and asking such questions as, ‘What is it that makes Norway so successful in adopting low-emission transport?’ And, ‘Why are so many people moving from diesel and gasoline powered vehicles in favour of electric-powered plug-ins and hybrids?’

There are many reasons why Norway is pulling ahead of other countries in EV adoption, but one of the main factors is likely its heavy tax burden for people who own a diesel or petrol car. Along with many other countries, this is one of the biggest incentives for drivers to go green. But unlike many other countries, Norway have the infrastructure and other perks in place to make the move feasible.

As well as the generous tax system, EV owners in Norway can benefit from free city tolls, ferries, parking, and even the right to drive in bus lanes. Not only do these perks make getting around much more convenient, but they can add up to thousands of pounds of savings a year, offsetting the ticket price of a new EV much quicker than in other countries.

With such as solid commitment to renewable energy, Norway has quickly built up adequate infrastructure to support the masses of new EVs. This is in stark contrast to countries like England and America, where charging stations are generally few and far between, and drivers often face long queues and waits.

This is much less of a problem in Norway, where earlier in the year the world’s largest fast-charging station was opened. The station has a capacity to charge up to 28 vehicles in an hour. Whatsmore, due to its system of cheap hydroelectric power, the country can also offer EV owners free energy at public charging stations.

The only problem Norway really faces is that EV manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the demand, with lengthy delivery times and a lack of model options for buyers. The models which are currently top of the EV sales are the Volkswagen Golf, BMWi3, Toyota Rav4, and Tesla Model X — all hybrid models apart from the pure electric Tesla.

It may seem like Norway has a long way to go to meet its target of a 100 percent electric vehicle market in seven years. But with already over a half of all new car sales being all-electric or hybrids, the more immediate question is what are other counties going to do to keep up.