October 17, 2021

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Why Norway leads the world for electric cars

While the UK considers slashing subsidies, few countries’ leaders would dare to bring in the sort of taxes on car purchases that have put Norway on track to comfortably beat its target of all new cars being electric by 2025.

Norway has for decades imposed vehicle registration taxes on new cars, most on the ones with the highest emissions, with some vehicles paying tens of thousands of pounds in charges, and fully electric vehicles exempt since the 1990s. 

That meant that when the mass production Tesla S came out nearly in 2012, it did not look that prohibitively expensive for Norwegians, with Elon Musk’s breakthrough vehicle becoming the best-selling car on the market as early as 2013.

So far this year, more than 60 percent of new car sales in Norway have been fully electric, and over 80 percent when including plug-in hybrids which are partly battery-driven.

In August, for the first time, more than half of new car sales were fully electric in every county in Norway, including the far north where drivers face long distances, less frequent charging points and cold temperatures.  

“Other countries can’t do the same as Norway, because it’s not politically feasible to introduce the same levels of taxes overnight,” admits Christina Bu, Secretary-General of the Norwegian Electric Car Association.

“But they can do something similar, and the right way to do it is to start taxing the sale of the most polluting cars, and use that money to subsidise fully electric cars.”

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