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More Than Half of All New Vehicles Sold in Norway Last Year Were Hybrids or EVs

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First Opel Ampera-e deliveries in Norway

Deliveries of the Opel Ampera-e began in Norway last year

Automakers spent much of the waning days of 2017—and early-goings of 2018—divulging ambitions for proliferating the adoption of electrified vehicle technology on a global scale over the next several years. In Norway, the switch from fossil fuels to alternative energy vehicles is well underway—in 2017, more than half of all new vehicles sold were hybrids and electric vehicles, marking a first in automotive history.

“No one else is close,” Norwegian Road Federation (OFV) chief Oeyvind Solberg Thorsen told Reuters. “For the first time we have a fossil-fuel market share below 50%.”

Hybrid and electric vehicles accounted for 52% of all Norwegian new vehicle sales in 2017, up from 40% in 2016. Helping facilitate the rapid adoption of the new technology is a number of perks for drivers making the switch—EVs are exempt from most taxes and provide drivers with subsidized or free parking costs, public charging, and use of tolls and ferries. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), PHEV and EV sales totaled 39% of all new vehicle sales in 2017—up from 29% in 2016—and zero emission vehicle sales rose from 16% to 21%.

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Norway’s best-selling vehicles in 2017 were the Volkswagen Golf, BMW i3, Toyota RAV4, and Tesla Model X.

Norway in 2017 set a 2025 deadline for all vehicles sold in the country to be zero emissions. This puts the country considerably ahead of similar deadlines set by France and Britain—both are planning to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2040 at the earliest.

Christina Bu, head of the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association, told Reuters that the plan is ambitious. And while Norway’s model is successful (and hard to imitate) thanks to a $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund, it presents the challenge of an estimated loss of 3 billion Norwegian crowns per year in tax revenue as a result of EV benefits.

Still, Norway stands to serve as a model for EV proliferation, as well as a key market for major brands. GM, for example, designated Norway as the first market in which it would sell its all-electric Opel Ampera-e prior to the brand’s sale to PSA Group.

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News Source: Reuters