A country fuelled by hydropower has become the worlds electrical vehicle leader
In 1995, the lead singer of the 1980 s band -Aha and the head of the Norwegian environmental group Bellona climbed improbably into a converted electrical Fiat Panda they had imported from Switzerland and set off on a superhighway trip.
They drove around Oslo refusing to pay the city’s sky-high road fees, parking illegally wherever they could, and discounting every retribution notice they were given. Eventually, the authorities confiscated their automobile and auctioned it off to cover the fines.
But the stunt attracted massive media attention, and the point was did. Soon after, electric vehicles were exempted from road fees, one of a large raft of motivations that have, over the years, facilitated constitute Norway the country with the world’s highest per capita electric vehicle ownership.
Last month, in an economy hit by the coronavirus crisis, amply electric cars to be taken into consideration simply under 60% of Norway’s new car market, and plug-in hybrids just over 15%- mean three in four members of all brand-new vehicles sold were either wholly or partially electric.
It still has some way to go, but “the two countries ” gazes on course to meet a government target- set in 2016, with full cross-party parliamentary support- of phasing out the sale of all brand-new fossil-fuel based vehicles and light-footed commercial vehicles by 2025.
” It’s actually pretty amazing how fast the mindset’s changed ,” said Christina Bu of the Norwegian EV Electric Vehicle Association.” Even in 2013 or 2014, beings were sceptical. Now, a majority of Norwegians will say: my next gondola is likely to be electric .”
The story of how and why that has happened has a straightforward, if unexpected logic. First, despite being a major oil and gas producer, virtually all of Norway’s domestic intensity comes from a single, and renewable, root: hydropower.
That intends switching to EVs is a much greener option for Norway than for countries whose power is generated primarily by coal bushes- and that if it wants to significantly reduce its release degrees, it has little choice but to light-green its transport sector.
Driven by the environmental imperative, the government began offering incentives to buy and lope electric cars as far back as 1990, first by introducing a temporary exception from Norway’s exorbitant vehicle purchase tax, which became permanent six years later.
” This represents an important step ,” Bu said.” Norway was a very poor country before we detected lubricant; vehicles were a indulgence item. They’ve always been levied very highly. Automobiles in Norway are a lot more expensive than elsewhere. Without the acquisition tax, the cost of an electric car basically descended to that of an ordinary auto .”
Since then, electric car operators have been given the right to park for free in some municipal car parks, drive in bus paths, take ferries without a ticket and, thanks to -Aha, drive toll-free. They are not required to pay VAT on their automobiles, or road imposition, and corporation electric cars are taxed at a lower frequency than petrol or diesel vehicles.
Some measures have changed over the years: to be allowed to drive in a bus corridor, for example, you now need to be carrying a passenger. A so-called 50% ruler was introduced in 2017, granting local authorities to charge EV operators up to 50% of the parking fees, street fees and shuttle rates be applied to fossil-fuel vehicles.
But overall, said Bu, the” compounding of a big one-off saving when you buy the car, plus the substantially lower costs- fuel, fees, parking, upkeep- of actually driving it, still adds up to a very powerful financial argument. Over its lifetime, you really save a lot of money with an electric car in Norway .”
That was certainly what persuaded Wenche Charlotte Egelund, 57, who bought a VW Golf Electric with her collaborator two years ago when they moved out of central Oslo.” The motivations were crucial ,” she said.” The tax and VAT exceptions, free municipal parking, free toll roads that means that we are avoid the rush-hour traffic jam .”