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Norway's Electric Cars: Already Too Popular?

 

Tesla Roadster, Reva i, & Ford Th!nk electric cars parked at charging station in Oslo, Norway

Tesla Roadster, Reva i, & Ford Th!nk electric cars parked at charging station in Oslo, Norway

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Is it possible for electric cars to be too popular?

Thanks to supportive government policies and relatively short average commuting distances, Norway has become the friendliest place in the world for plug-in cars.

Now, there may be too many of them on the country's roads. The country is starting to have more electric cars than it can handle, according to Quartz (via Charged EVs).

Two incentives that promote electric cars--the availability of free public charging stations and the ability of electric-car drivers to use bus lanes--have apparently become victims of their own success.

Despite the growth of the country's charging-station network, Norwegians are having trouble finding places to plug in.

While lack of parking is a perennial annoyance for drivers of internal-combustion vehicles, it can be a more serious matter for electric-car drivers, who often rely on a public charge to have enough range to get home.

Electric Cars Charging in Norway

Electric Cars Charging in Norway

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There are an estimated 15,000 electric cars on the road in Norway--up from 10,000 in 2012 and 6,000 in 2011--and these are served by 5,000 public charging stations.

Roughly 500 of those stations are in the capital city of Oslo, where the majority of the population is concentrated.

There are also more cars than buses in Norway's bus lanes.

During rush hour on December 3, electric cars made up 75 percent of the 829 vehicles in Oslo's bus lanes, while actual buses made up just 7.5 percent.

The bus lanes are reportedly capacity-restricted to 1,000 vehicles per hour, owing to the many entries, exits, and bus stops.

In addition to letting electric cars into bus lanes and providing free public-charging stations, the Norwegian government has adopted aggressive tax policies and other incentives, estimated to be worth around $8,200 per car, per year.

These policies have garnered impressive sales results: In November 2013, electric cars made up 12 percent of all new-car sales in Norway.

The Tesla Model S was the country's best-selling car in September, while the Nissan Leaf held the title in October.

While both models lead electric-car sales in the United States, plug-in electric car sales in 2013 remained less than 1 percent of total vehicle sales.

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