Written by Divija Vaish, a grade 11 student
Norway is officially the first country where the sale of electric cars has overtaken that of petrol, diesel, and hybrid cars, and it is not Tesla that leads the productions. It is the German automobile giant, Volkswagen, that leads.
In 2020, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) accounted for 54.3% of all cars new sold during the year, a 28% rise from the 42.4% the previous year (2019) and a staggering 5,330% from a mere 1% only a decade ago. This comes as the country seeks to end all sales of petrol and diesel-fuelled cars by 2025. The sales of BEVs had previously crossed the 50% mark, but only in individual months. 2020 marks the first time that sales had crossed 50% for an entire year. Towards the end of 2020, sales accelerated fast, reaching an all-time high in December with a 66.7% share in all new cars sold that month. In comparison, diesel-fuelled car sales have slipped from 75.7% shares in 2011 to 8.6% in 2020. 141,412 new cars were sold last year, of which 54.3% or 76,789 were electric cars.
The sale of electric vehicles is expected to rise fast even in 2021 as more and more companies are bringing their electric cars to the Nordic market.
“Our preliminary forecast is for electric cars to surpass 65% of the market in 2021,” said Christina Bu who heads the Norwegian EV Association, an interest group. “If we manage that, the goal of selling only zero-emission cars in 2025 will be within reach.“
The reason Norway has been able to achieve the milestone is that its government is exempting such vehicles from most taxes, making them much cheaper to buy than other cars. Besides that, electric cars are also allowed to use the bus lanes and not pay toll taxes, parking is free for them, and regular and fast-charging stations are continuously being built on all highways. Not only have these measures pushed the sales, but they have also effectively made Norway the testing ground for major electric car companies.
Now, alongside its advances in electric vehicles, Norway is also pushing towards hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Although it is extremely beneficial for the environment and should be something that countries all around should adopt, this policy is somewhat impossible for other countries to take up because it is easy for Norway to offer generous subsidies thanks to its large revenue that it gets from its exports of oil and gas, which is the primary reason behind Norway’s huge sovereign wealth fund of over $1.3 trillion.
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