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 clambered improbably into a converted electric Fiat Panda they had imported from Switzerland and set off on a road trip.
They drove around Oslo refusing to pay the city’s sky-high superhighway tolls, parking illegally wherever they could, and rejecting every sanction notice they were given. Eventually, the authorities confiscated their auto and auctioned it off to cover the fines.
But the stunt lured massive media attention, and the point was represented. Soon after, electric vehicles were exempted from road fees, one of a large raft of motivations that have, over the years, facilitated realise 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 exactly under 60% of Norway’s new car marketplace, and plug-in composites only over 15%- sense three in four of all brand-new automobiles sold were either wholly or partly electric.
It still has some mode to go, but the country searches on direction to meet a government target- set in 2016, with full cross-party parliamentary support- of phasing out the sale of all new fossil-fuel based autoes and light-footed commercial vehicles by 2025.
” It’s actually quite amazing how fast 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 auto will be electrical .”
The story of how and why that has happened has a straightforward, if unexpected reasoning. First, despite has become a major oil and gas producer, virtually all of Norway’s domestic energy comes from a single, and renewable, generator: hydropower.
That symbolizes swapping to EVs is a much greener option for Norway than for countries whose power is generated predominantly by coal flowers- and that if it wants to significantly reduce its emission stages, it has little choice but to dark-green its transport sector.
Driven by the environmental imperative, the government began offering incentives to buy and guide electric cars as far back as 1990, first by introducing a temporary exemption 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 discovered petroleum; automobiles were a indulgence component. They’ve always been levied very highly. Cars in Norway are a lot more expensive than abroad. Without the buy taxation, the cost of an electric car basically descended to that of an everyday automobile .”
Since then, electric car operators have been given the right to park free of charge in some municipal car parks, drive in bus trails, take boats without air tickets and, thanks to -Aha, drive toll-free. They are not required to pay VAT on their vehicles, or road charge, and corporation 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 lane, for example, you now need to be carrying a passenger. A so-called 50% pattern was introduced in 2017, allowing local authorities to charge EV motorists up to 50% of the parking costs, street tolls and ferry proportions applicable 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 lends up to a very powerful financial dispute. Over its lifetime, “youve been” save a lot of money with an electric car in Norway .”
That was certainly what persuasion Wenche Charlotte Egelund, 57, who bought a VW Golf Electric with her spouse two years ago when they moved out of central Oslo.” The incentives were crucial ,” she said.” The tax and VAT exemptions, free municipal parking, free toll roads that means that we are avoid paying rush-hour traffic jams .”