EV car share is gaining popularity in Norway, considered to be the most mature market for EVs
The Norwegian parliament in a landmark resolution has set 2025 as the target year for the country to go fully electric in terms of all kinds of automobiles on its roads. For a nation to undertake such a resolution there needs to be a reasonable degree of electric vehicle (EV) proliferation on the ground and in this respect Norway has indeed achieved the scale. EVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) already accounted for over half of all new car registrations in Norway in 2017. As is evident, for an EV market to achieve the next level beyond the 5-10% of initial users, the EV charging system must evolve equally fast if not faster.
The fast growth of EVs and PHEVs in Norway was largely driven by the government’s willingness to offer incentives to EVs and make it costlier for fossil fuel powered vehicles. Right from the point of purchase and onward in the life of an EV, the Norwegian government has made an offer that the citizens can’t easily refuse. Therefore, buying an EV in Norway is now exempt from payment of purchase taxes that average 95,000 Norwegian Kroner for fossil fuel powered cars. Additionally, there is a 25% VAT exemption on purchase or leasing of EVs and a 50% reduction in company car tax for such vehicles.
EV owners pay lower annual road tax and get exemption from road toll along with access to bus lanes and free access to state ferries, a vital mode of cross-country travel in Norway. Municipal parking has been generally free for EVs but in recent times it has been left to the discretion of local municipalities to decide on it. Of course, the municipalities will have their own EV charging system in their parking lots and that will have a revenue model of its own. Whatever emerges at a later date will surely be in sync with the incentives for EVs being offered by other facilities.
Norway has one of the best electric power supply systems in the world with massive storage capacity which allows it to have very good control over the seasonal fluctuations in production. For any market that is keen on developing a network of EV charging stations to sustain the growth of electric vehicles, such as high efficiency and stability in the power supply grid is crucial. The Norwegian grid is able to store as much as 75% of all the power that it produces and that makes it highly compatible with the power requirements of a fast-growing EV market.
The other major advantage that the Norwegian electric power grid offers is the sourcing of over 96% of the country’s power production from hydro-electric plants. Another two percent of the country’s electricity comes from wind power, which together with the dominant hydro power infrastructure, makes over 98% of its capacity renewable. The grid is designed in a way to make over 75% of the power output flexible wherein it can be increased or decreased as per the seasonal demand. Hence, Norway is fully prepared to have more EV charging stations to enable the shift from fossil fuel powered cars to those powered by electricity.