Norway has always been an exception.
While most countries are pushing for higher demand in electric cars with cash subsidies and benefits such as license plates, parking spaces and or free use of toll lanes and bridges, they also have a difficult time trying to reach 3% of market shares with electric vehicles. Norway. once again, is the exception. Norwegian's insatiable appetite for electric vehicles has pushed their electric vehicles to 37% of the country's market share.
But why is that so difficult and how is it important?
Well, change in the auto market is slow. According to Consumer Reports, the average life span of a car is roughly 8 years or 150,000 miles, but some vehicles, if well maintained and made extremely well, can easily double that with 15 years or 300,000 miles. And while some wealthy people do own multiple cars, majority of the population that can own cars, only own one and may share it between family members. With around 2 billion cars on the road around the whole and the annual global production of vehicles at roughly 100 million, it takes 20 years to see a complete change of vehicles. So, with electric vehicles becoming more popular only over the last few years but the price tag may reflect a low demand but governments are more actively assisting its growth with incentives in order to make the price competitive with combustion engine vehicles, it would only be logical that more people would be buying electric cars.
But, sadly, that is not how the real world works. There are still many issues and uncertainties surrounding electric cars, one of them being travel range and charging time. While some of the newer high end electric cars may have a travel range of up to 300 miles on one charge, it may take 10 hours to charge on a regular charger or 30 minutes at a super charger. The current bench mark and comparison is combustion engines, and refueling at a gas station may only take at most 15 minutes for the same travel range, making a combustion engine car more desirable for long distance travelling. And while long distance travelling might not be an issue for some people, having a secure location to charge on a daily basis may pose a problem for some potential consumers since they may live in a shared parking area or may not have access to a charging port. But Norway is an exception. Their electric vehicle incentives such as exemption of non-recurring vehicle fees, which include purchase taxes, which are very high in Norway and 25% VAT on purchase, Last September, 28.8% of new car sales were a form of an electric vehicle and had 19% of the market share. They reached the 100,000 mark of electric vehicles on the road last year in December and has hit a new record in January with over 4800 electric vehicles delivered in the country.
Strong sales of BMW i3 (622 units) and some plug in hybrids such as the Volvo XC90 (398 units) and the Volkswagen Passat GTE (411 units) helped the country reached this new milestone. Tesla contributed with 129 units of the Model S sedans and 238 units of the Model X SUVs, while Hyundai saw their Ioniq Electric sell 166 units. At this rate of growth, Norway could see electric cars being the majority of new vehicle sales by the end of year. The country has a goal of 100% new car sales to be zero emission vehicles by 2025 and with this rate of growth and insatiable appetite for electric vehicles, their goal may be achievable. While the country's population may only be 5.2 million and much smaller in comparison to the larger markets of US and China, they prove that with the right incentives and motivation, reaching a 100% of new car sales to be zero emission to be possible.