Electric-car rally in Geiranger, Norway [Image: Norsk elbilforening via Flickr]Enlarge Photo
Norway was one of the earliest nations to set a coherent and broad-based national plan to cut its carbon emissions, and then stick to it.
For road transport, it plans to phase out sales of cars with internal-combustion engines by 2025 using a variety of carrots (financial incentives and special privileges) and sticks (very high taxes on conventional vehicles) to get there.
Sales data for 2017 reveal that the country is well on its way to achieving that goal.
DON'T MISS: Norway's Goal: All New Cars Will Be Emission-Free By 2025 To Cut Carbon (Aug 2015)
The Norwegian Road Federation, or OFV as it's abbreviated in that language, said a year ago that 40 percent of new cars sold in 2016 were electrified in some way, either conventional hybrids or plug-in electric vehicles.
Now, the group's latest data covering 2017 sales shows that number has crossed the 50-percent mark: More than half the new vehicles sold were hybrids or electrics.
The total of 158,650 new vehicles registered in the country of 5 million—the third-highest total on record, after 1985 and 1986—included 33,080 zero-emission vehicles, or 20.9 percent.
The 100,000th Renault electric car is delivered in NorwayEnlarge Photo
OFV noted that an additional 8,559 used zero-emission vehicles were registered, like as used cars imported into the country.
A further 917 new and used zero-emission vans and light commercial vehicles were registered in addition, the report said.
Battery-electric cars now constitute almost 150,000 of the country's 2.7 million on-road vehicles, or roughly 5 percent, it continued.
On top of the all-electric cars, 49,736 hybrid vehicles made up an additional 31.3 percent of the Norwegian new-car market last year, up from 24.5 percent in 2016.
Of those, 29,236 (59 percent) were plug-in hybrids, an increase of more than 40 percent over the 20,663 sold in 2016.
The other 20,500 hybrids sold last year were the conventional type, without plugs.
The hybrids and plug-in hybrids sold in Norway last year included both those using gasoline engines and a few models with diesel engines, likely including the popular Volvo V60 through-the-road plug-in hybrid diesel wagon.
But sales of diesel vehicles as a group are falling fast, the figures showed.
Self-dimming streetlights in Hole, NorwayEnlarge Photo
Last year, just 23.1 percent of new vehicles registered in Norway had diesel engines—little higher than the number of battery-electric vehicles alone.
In 2016, that percentage had been 30.8 percent. Just five years ago, for 2012, diesel vehicles represented almost two-thirds of the country's new cars, at more than 64 percent.
CHECK OUT: Half of Norway's new-car sales last month were hybrids or electrics (Mar 2017)
In the U.S., hybrid vehicles have never claimed more than 4 percent of the new-vehicle market, and that has fallen by half or more since sales peaked when gas prices were at their perceived highest point.
At just under 200,000 units, the combined total of battery-electric and plug-in hybrid sold in the U.S. last year represented just a bit more than 1 percent of a total market of 17.5 million new vehicles.