The Nissan LEAF is a Hot Seller in Norway

The Nissan LEAF is a Hot Seller in Norway

Incentives.  That's why Norway leads the charge.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV Sells Well in Norway, Too.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV Sells Well in Norway, Too.

It's estimated that, in Norway, incentives and subsidies total nearly $8,200 per plug-in vehicle.

Available incentives include an annual savings of up to $1,400 in road tolls, free parking worth $5,000 for some urban dwellers, reduced automotive ownership fees valued at roughly $400 and purchase incentives that vary based on the vehicle in question.  All told, these kickbacks saves consumers up to $8,200 on plug-in vehicles, but there seems to be a bit of an issue.

Few nations can sustain excessive subsidies for any length of time and Norway is no exception.  It's argued that without subsidies, plug-in vehicles would not fare nearly as well in Norway and that the nation's apparent love of electric vehicles will fade as subsidies slowly vanish.

Electric vehicles represented 3.0 percent of all automotive sales in Norway in February, whereas plug-in vehicles in the US only managed to capture 0.1 of the total automotive market in 2012.  It would seem illogical to conclude that electric vehicles in Norway can sustain such a high penetration point and feverish growth when most countries can't even come within striking distance of that 3% mark.

Norway's current incentive scheme expires in 2017, when it will be reviewed and possibly altered or cancelled completely.  It's at that time when we'll be able to see whether or not Norway's love for the electric vehicle was unconditional or just driven by external forces (i.e. incentives, tax breaks and free parking).

"This is a good introductory offer," says Norwegian Environment Minister Baard Vegar Solhjell. "It's a way to spread ideas and it also creates a lot of interest among the car companies."  But when the "introductory" offer disappears, will buyers vanish , too?

via Automotive News Europe