Nearly 1 in 4 new vehicles in Norway is electric

By James Ayre, Clean Technica, 17 May 2017

In one of its recent blog posts, the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory revealed that plug-in electric vehicles captured a 23.5% share of Norway’s total auto market in 2016.

What that means is that around one in every four cars sold in Norway during 2016 was a plug-in electric vehicle of some kind. Not that you didn’t know it, but that makes Norway the market with the highest rate of electric vehicle (EV) adoption anywhere in the world.

This compares to an EV market penetration percentage of 5.1% in the Netherlands, 3.2% in Sweden, 1.3% in the UK, 1.2% in France, and 0.7% in Germany. Despite the UK’s fairly low EV market share, because of the large size of the UK’s market, it was still responsible for around 17.3% of all plug-in electric vehicle sales in Europe in 2016, barely second to Norway’s 19.9%.

As a reminder here, the plug-in electric vehicle market penetration percentage in the US was around 0.9% in 2016.

Here’s a graph released by the Argonne National Laboratory that illustrates the state of things in 2016 quite well:

We recently wrote a piece diving into Norway’s EV market. With it being the star of this show, that whole article is just posted below again in case you missed it.

Norway’s Electric Car Love Favors Nissan LEAF, VW e-Golf, Tesla Model S, & BMW i3 (Charts)

Norway is like a lab experiment for electric transport. Crushing the electric car market share of any other country, Norway’s 30% or so EV share has been reached after more or less following the exponential growth trend that you see in theoretical charts like this one:

→ Related: ~Half Of New Car Sales In Oslo (Norway) In January Were EVs, Garage With 100+ Charging Points Opens

Of course, the electric car options will change dramatically by the time any other country reaches 30% market share, but it’s still interesting to have a look at which electric models have seen the most love in Norway’s rather mature market.

One of our wonderful, faithful readers — Are Hansen — recently shared some charts on just that. From EV-focused website, here’s a look at the 10 electric cars you’re most likely to see on a Norwegian street (registration data as of March 31, 2017):

Another chart from that page that caught my eye is one showing registrations of fully electric cars versus plug-in hybrids:

As you can see, plug-in hybrid sales rose from almost nothing to a significant share of 2016 and 2017 registrations. There are various reasons for that, but I think one factor worth highlighting is that there are now 20 or so plug-in hybrids on the market in Europe. Mercedes, BMW, and Volkswagen have been sticking small batteries and electric motors motors into many of their gasoline models like the best way to transition to electric transport is to put as little work and money in as possible and offer token electric batteries that get the automakers over European regulatory hurdles. I wouldn’t call it trolling (well, maybe I would) … but I do presume it’s a delay tactic to postpone a true EV revolution for as long as possible.

That said, people do seem to be buying and appreciating these plug-in hybrids, even in EV-loving Norway. And our surveys have shown that plug-in hybrid drivers are similar to other EV drivers in the reasons they have for going electric — with “environmental benefit” being the most popular reason.

Survey results from our new EV report. Responses came from over 2,000 EV drivers across 26 European countries, 49 of 50 US states, and 9 Canadian provinces. Responses were segmented according to region — North America vs Europe — and type of electric car — plug-in hybrid vs Tesla vs non-Tesla fully electric car.

I just wish the vehicles would be designed more as EVs and have batteries with twice the capacity, following in the footsteps of the successful and effective Chevy Volt drivetrain. Instead, it seems that Mercedes, BMW, and Volkswagen had a quiet meeting in a dark room somewhere and decided to offer plug-in hybrids with the smallest batteries possible.

I’m curious to hear more from Norwegians or others here who have some deeper perspective on the plug-in hybrid market in Norway or elsewhere.