EVs made up more than half of car sales in Norway last year
Norway’s EV boom has been in the works for several decades, and shows the power of a good incentive scheme to make radical change. The country is one of a number of European countries that took advantage of a domestic oil boom through the 20th century. North Sea Oil brought riches to several nations, each of which used their newly-found wealth in very different ways, with dramatically different outcomes. The UK, for instance, used the cash to fund tax cuts for the wealthy through the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.
By comparison, in 1990, Norway began pushing profits from its oil reserves into a new sovereign wealth fund. That fund was used to make investments in a number of industries, and is now worth more than $1 trillion. Norway has used its enormous bank balance to fund its domestic transition toward electric vehicles with very generous subsidies, including no purchase or import taxes, no road tax and either free or heavily discounted fees for toll roads, parking, ferries and company car tax. EV drivers are also entitled to use bus lanes and receive subsidies for scrapping older, fossil-fuel-powered vehicles.
For every carrot, there is also a stick, and Norway has increased the tax burden on gas-powered cars to encourage EV purchases. In one example, EV Norway explains that a standard VW Golf is taxed to the tune of €12,000 ($14,700) to make the e-Golf cheaper in a side-by-side comparison. Norway has used some of that cash to fund infrastructure investment, including building a fast charging station every 30 miles or so on the country’s main roads. All of this means that it expects, by 2025, to be able to end sales of fossil fuel-powered cars completely.
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long added to this report.