The want for a cleaner and greener planet has been growing stronger in the past few years. Since motor vehicles are a major source of pollution the focus on adoption of electric vehicles has been increasing progressively across the world. Although EVs have been around for quite some time, the stunning innovations in recent years have placed them within the reach of a much larger global population.
Europe and US have been the frontrunners when it comes to transitioning to e-mobility. However, the Scandinavian country of Norway has surpassed any other country by huge margins when it comes to electric vehicle adoption. Globally, Norway is renowned as an affluent country with breathtaking views of fjords and snowclad mountains.
The lesser known fact about Norway is that the country is leading the charge in transitioning to e-mobility for many years and in 2020, it passed an impressive milestone when more than half of its new passenger vehicle registrations were recorded to be EVs. In fact, that number climbs to 75% when plug-in hybrids are taken into account.
In contrast, only 2% of new registered cars in EU in 2018 were EVs, while in US, less than 2% of light vehicle sold in 2019 were EVs (including hybrids). Norway’s EV market share was always much ahead of other countries in EU. In 2018, when the market share of EVs in Norway was 49.1%, Sweden was the second largest EV market in EU with 8% market share.
Image source: Statista
Secrets behind Norway’s e-mobility success
When one takes a deep look at the reasons behind this continued success of Norway’s e-mobility transition, two factors gain the spotlight. First factor is the country’s affluence. According to ACEA, Norway’s per capita GDP in 2018 was €73,200. Norway’s wealth is one of the key factors that boosts e-mobility in the country. It is easier to conclude that Norwegian people are wealthier and hence they can afford more Tesla’s, but the matter is not that simple.
Norway’s source of wealth is its rich oil reserves but quite ironically, the country is using that money to create sustainable and green energy. Norway’s electricity almost entirely comes from hydropower – so, not only is the country a predominant user of EVs but those EVs are powered by green energy, which makes the transition to e-mobility even more significant.
The second factor behind the accelerated EV adoption lies in its policy measures which favor EVs phenomenally over motor vehicles that run on fossil fuels. Norway’s e-mobility programme was implemented to encourage adoption of electronic vehicle and the hefty subsidies have evidently paid off substantially.
To boost EV adoption Norway provides hefty national subsidies to its citizens on buying EVs. It also offers lower tax facilities and provides free access to public parking spaces and garages, toll-free use of roads and bus lanes and completely free use of local ferries. Overall the people of Norway are given a large number of benefits for choosing EVs over regular vehicles and that the is the real reason behind the swift transition to e-mobility.
While it is true that the kind of subsidies and benefits Norway provides its citizens is possible because of its affluence and lesser fortunate countries couldn’t possibly afford to match those numbers, but one can’t ignore the fact that if national governments want to push e-mobility transition, policy level interventions are necessary even if at a much lower scale.
Hopefully, other countries will take que from Norway’s extraordinary success story and come up with indigenous programs to boost EV adoption in their domestic markets and pave the way towards a more sustainable and greener planet.