Electric Cars Charging in NorwayEnlarge Photo
Norway loves electric cars. So much so that last month, over a tenth of all the new cars sold had a plug.
When the figure in other countries worldwide is usually in the fractions of a percent range, you'll be aware how significant that number is.
According to Opplysningsrådet for Veitrafikken, the Norwegian information council for road traffic, 12,079 cars were registered in November. Of those, 1,434 featured electric drive--almost 12 percent of the new car total.
That's the highest proportion of electric car sales so far in the country, which has already made headlines in previous months for electric car sales.
Back in September, the Tesla Model S was Norway's highest-selling car, with 616 units and an impressive 5.1 percent share of the market overall. Last month, reports Reuters, Nissan's Leaf headed the table, with 716 units--more than the Volkswagen Golf, at 646 cars. It took a 5.6 percent share of the market in October.
Norway's electric car sales share was 8.6 percent of the market in September and 7.2 percent in October--with Leafs and Model S making up the majority of those sales.
Last month, reveals Best Selling Cars Blog, Tesla's Model S once again scored highly, sitting in second spot with 527 sales. The Leaf has moved down to fifth with 512 units, while topping the chart is the ubiquitous (and apparently devilish) Golf at 666.
November marks quite a jump then, and EVs now outsell hybrids in the country--with 849 units, hybrids accounted for an 8.9 percent share last month, and sales are 57 percent higher than they were last year.
That's probably why Norway's average CO2 output for new cars is dropping rapidly, averaging just 113 grams per kilometer of the greenhouse gas. For some perspective, that CO2 figure is barely more than the average small-engined subcompact car produces in European testing--and the high proportion of electric and hybrid vehicles has undoubtedly played a part.
There's a very good reason electric cars are selling well in Norway of course--as well as providing a comprehensive recharging infrastructure and lavishing the cars with tax incentives and other benefits, EVs also avoid the heavy taxes applied to regular vehicles in the country.
This means a car like the Nissan Leaf costs no more than the equivalent Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus.
And while Norway is a large, elongated country--with around the same landmass as the state of Montana--most of its habitable areas are located within short distance of the capital Oslo. This means vehicles rarely embark upon long journeys, perfect for electric vehicle adoption.
In the greater scheme of things, 1,434 cars in November--or even the country's total 12,000 vehicles--is a fairly small figure. In October, over 1.2 million vehicles were sold in the U.S.--a hundred times more than in Norway. But it's proof that given the right market conditions, electric cars really can work very well indeed.