Norway Is Model Society for Electric Vehicles
In many respects, Norway’s EV policy is turning the country into an EV model society. This should make for a very interesting story for 2013 and beyond, as new electric vehicle models add more depth to the EV market. In a press release from April 2012, Nissan stated: “The existing on-street charging infrastructure in Oslo currently has approximately 3,500 public charging points in Oslo, many of them free to use.” The availability of charging infrastructure helped LEAF sales reach 1.7 percent of total Norwegian auto sales in its first full year on the market.
Norway is certainly not the biggest auto market in the world with about 138,000 auto sales in 2012, but Norway’s electric vehicle sales are notable. Electric vehicle sales encompassed 3 percent of total auto sales in 2012, and there was a brief spike in September above 5 percent. The Norway based Electric Vehicle Union (EVU) reported: “After a record breaking month in August where EV sales in Norway were 3.6 percent of total car sales, EV sales accelerated in September to 5.2 percent of total car sales.”
The introduction of the Nissan LEAF in late 2011 was the biggest factor in lifting electric vehicle sales in 2012. Nissan sold 2,298 LEAFs in Norway in 2012, which was 1.7 percent of total Norwegian auto sales.
A Nissan press release explains: “Norway is one of the most EV friendly nations of all. Keen to promote the benefits of zero emission mobility, Norway exempts buyers from paying purchase tax and 25% VAT on new cars.” I would go further to say that $10 a gallon for petroleum is a strong incentive to go electric.
Momentum for 2013
Moving forward, there are big plans for fast chargers across Norway. Norwegian electric power provider Ishavskraft is working with EV charging manufacturer Delta Electronics of Taiwan to deploy a network of fast chargers throughout Norway. Ishavskraft calls this plan, the Ishavsveien, which roughly translates to arctic road. “The first stretch of the Ishavsveien charging network will service the E6 road between Oslo and the Swedish border,” Delta Electronics stated on its website. “It will feature universal charging stations with Delta’s EV charging solutions for all the EVs available on the market today.”
In addition to the LEAF, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV sold relatively well in Norway. The Mitsubishi i-MiEV had 665 sales in 2012. This vehicle is also manufactured by French auto manufacturer, PSA Peugeot Citroën, under the brand names Peugeot iOn and Citroen C-Zero. The French versions have slight design differences to the Japanese i-MiEV, but they look almost the same from the exterior. In Norway, the Peugeot iOn had 407 sales in 2012, and the Citroen C-Zero had 513 sales in 2012. Altogether, these three sister brands had 1,585 sales, which was 1.15% of total Norwegian auto sales for 2012.
Looking ahead to the next year or two, the Tesla Model S is expected to sell well in Norway. Tesla opened a showroom in Oslo in April 2012. The new Smart Electric Drive will also soon be released.
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