Norway’s EV Transition: Fast but Slow

Jamie Wilkie
Courtesy of Statistics Norway

Norway (and its Nordic neighbors) are often highlighted as examples of how a country – after throwing enough money at incentive programs – can rapidly shift car-buying behavior.

The rapid shift: Norway’s system includes substantial policy incentives for electric vehicle buyers, including an exemption from the country’s 25 percent value added tax on new vehicle purchases and reduced road and ferry tolls.

And they work:

  • Hybrid, electric, and zero-emission vehicles have made up more than 90 percent of new passenger vehicle sales since 2021 (and more than 50 percent since 2017).

The slower shift: New vehicle sales are only one part of the equation. Norway’s passenger fleet is nearly 3 million and, despite minimal new fossil fuel vehicle sales, there are still 2 million conventional petrol and diesel vehicles on the road.

Zoom out: Norway provides a great case study in the transition to electric vehicles. Cars and trucks have 15 to 20 year lifetimes, and despite what some Tesla’s diehard fans might have you believe, most people will not discard a working gas car for a new electric one.

+Keep an eye on this: Norway’s policy makers are struggling to reign in incentives that are reducing tax revenue by up to $4 billion per year. We’ll see how sales hold up.