A country fuelled by hydropower has become the worlds electrical vehicle leader
In 1995, the lead singer of the 1980 s party -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 street fees, parking illegally wherever they could, and neglecting every penalty notice they were given. Eventually, the authorities concerned confiscated their auto and auctioned it off to cover the fines.
But the stunt lured massive media attention, and the point was formed. Soon after, electric vehicles were exempted from road fees, one of a large raft of incentives that have, over the years, facilitated prepare Norway the country with the world’s highest per capita electrical vehicle ownership.
Last month, in an economy hit by the coronavirus crisis, fully electric cars to be taken into consideration merely under 60% of Norway’s brand-new automobile marketplace, and plug-in hybrids precisely over 15%- gist three in four members of all brand-new gondolas sold were either wholly or partly electric.
It still has some style to go, but “the two countries ” sounds on trend 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 gondolas and light-colored commercial vehicles by 2025.
” It’s actually pretty amazing how quickly the mindset’s changed ,” said Christina Bu of the Norwegian EV Electric Vehicle Association.” Even in 2013 or 2014, parties were sceptical. Now, a majority of Norwegians will say: my next automobile will be electric .”
The story of how and why that has happened has a straightforward, if unexpected reasoning. First, despite being a major oil and gas producer, virtually all of Norway’s domestic energy comes from a single, and renewable, informant: hydropower.
That means switching to EVs is a much greener alternative for Norway than for countries whose power is generated primarily by coal weeds- and that if it wants to significantly reduce its emission levels, it has little choice but to light-green its transport sector.
Driven by the environmental imperative, the government began offering incentives to buy and range 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 was an important step ,” Bu said.” Norway was a very poor country before we detected lubricant; vehicles were a indulgence item. They’ve always been charged very highly. Automobiles in Norway are a lot more expensive than elsewhere. Without the acquire tariff, the cost of an electric car mostly fell to that of an ordinary car .”
Since then, electric car drivers have been given the right to park for free in some municipal parking lot, drive in bus roads, take ferries without a ticket and, thanks to -Aha, drive toll-free. They are not required to pay VAT on their gondolas, or road tariff, and company electric cars are taxed at a lower charge than petrol or diesel vehicles.
Some measures have changed over the years: to be allowed to drive in a bus path, for example, you now need to be carrying a passenger. A so-called 50% pattern adopted in 2017, granting local authorities to charge EV operators up to 50% of the parking fees, street tolls and ferry frequencies applicable to fossil-fuel vehicles.
But overall, said Bu, the” combining of a big one-off saving when you buy the car, plus the substantially lower costs- fuel, tolls, parking, upkeep- of actually driving it, still contributes up to a very powerful financial statement. Over its lifetime, you really save a great deal of money with an electric car in Norway .”
That was certainly what influenced Wenche Charlotte Egelund, 57, who purchased a VW Golf Electric with her spouse two years ago when they moved out of central Oslo.” The motivations is of paramount importance ,” she said.” The charge and VAT exceptions, free municipal parking, free toll roads that mean we avoid paying rush-hour traffic congestion .”