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 superhighway trip.
They drove around Oslo refusing to pay the city’s sky-high superhighway tolls, parking illegally wherever they could, and discounting every disadvantage notice they were given. Eventually, the authorities impounded their automobile and auctioned it off to cover the fines.
But the stunt allured massive media attention, and the point was manufactured. Soon after, electrical vehicles were exempted from road tolls, one of a large raft of motivations that have, over the years, helped realise Norway the country with the world’s highest per capita electrical vehicle ownership.
Last month, in an economy hit by the coronavirus crisis, amply electric cars accounted for exactly under 60% of Norway’s brand-new automobile market, and plug-in composites merely over 15%- signify three in four of all brand-new vehicles sold were either utterly or partially electric.
It still has some method to go, but the country seems on route 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 automobiles 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, majority decisions 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 has become a major oil and gas producer, virtually all of Norway’s domestic energy comes from a single, and renewable, root: hydropower.
That signifies swapping to EVs is a much greener alternative for Norway than for countries whose power is generated primarily by coal plants- and that if it wants to significantly reduce its release heights, it has little choice but to green its transport sector.
Driven by the environmental imperative, the government began offering incentives to buy and operate 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 discovered oil; autoes were a indulgence piece. They’ve always been taxed very highly. Autoes in Norway are a lot more expensive than elsewhere. Without the acquisition excise, the cost of an electric car mostly fell to that of an ordinary automobile .”
Since then, electric car moves have been given the right to park free of charge in some municipal car parks, drive in bus corridors, take boats without a ticket and, thanks to -Aha, drive toll-free. They are not required to pay VAT on their autoes, or road imposition, and companionship 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% regulation adopted in 2017, permitting local authorities to charge EV drivers up to 50% of the parking costs, street tolls and ferrying frequencies 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- gasoline, fees, parking, maintenance- of actually driving it, still adds up to a very powerful financial arguing. 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 purchased 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 exceptions, free municipal parking, free toll roads that mean we avoid paying rush-hour traffic jams .”