(Oslo) Boosted by Tesla sales, nearly two-thirds of new registrations were fully electric cars in 2021 in Norway, a specialist body said on Monday, a figure unmatched in the world.
According to the Road Traffic Information Council (OFV), 64.5% of new cars sold last year in the Scandinavian country – also the largest producer of hydrocarbons in Western Europe – were battery-powered vehicles, compared to 54.3% in 2020.
Unparalleled in the world, this proportion is set against the backdrop of a record number of new registrations: despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 176,276 new cars were sold in Norway, of which 113,715 were electric.
For example, against the backdrop of the still depressed automotive market, electric cars represented 9.8% of new registrations in France last year, a level that is in line with the European average.
“Few would have considered 2021 to be a record year for new car sales in Norway and no other country has seen such growth in electric car sales,” commented OFV director Øyvind Solberg Thorsen .
“At the current rate […], the Norwegian car fleet will have half a million electric cars by March. We will then approach 20% out of a total of 2.8 million individual cars, which is quite formidable, ”he said in a statement.
A pioneer in this area, Norway has set itself the ambition that all its new cars will be “zero emission” – electric and hydrogen – from 2025.
The use of electric propulsion is considered all the more relevant there as the country draws almost all of its electricity from hydraulic dams which do not produce greenhouse gas emissions.
Tesla in the lead
While hailing “a milestone”, the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association said it expected the market share of “zero-emission” vehicles to exceed 80% this year with the arrival of new models.
“For the first time, an” all electric “brand dominates the list of new car sales,” noted its secretary general, Christina Bu, in a statement.
Thanks in particular to Model 3, the American Tesla in fact won 11.6% of the Norwegian car market last year, ahead of the German manufacturers Volkswagen and Japanese Toyota.
In addition to the Model 3, in pole position, “all-electric” cars (Volkswagen ID.4, Tesla Model Y, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Audi e-tron, etc.) accounted for eight of the ten best sales.
Unlike heavily taxed diesel or gasoline cars, electric cars are virtually free of any tax in Norway, making them comparatively cheaper to buy.
They also enjoy multiple advantages in Norway even if the authorities have started to cut back some such as free urban tolls or the possibility of using public transport corridors.
The new center-left Norwegian government, which came to power last year, also plans to tax the most upscale models by applying VAT on amounts exceeding the threshold of 600,000 crowns (86,262 Canadian dollars).