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Posted on EVANNEX on May 14, 2023, by Peter McGuthrie

Electric vehicles represented 80% of Norway’s auto sales last year, putting the country on track for an upcoming ban on new gas car sales. The accomplishment represents a case study for other countries looking to cut emissions, and the early results are already telling. 

Above: Tesla vehicles charging at a Supercharger (Image: Casey Murphy / EVANNEX).

In a recent piece for The New York Times, Jack Ewing pointed out some of the many benefits Norway is already experiencing from widespread EV adoption. These factors include cleaner air and quieter streets, though charging issues and other potential barriers to adoption remain. And while critics point to demand on the electrical grid, it simply hasn’t collapsed or struggled to deal with charging demand. 

Perhaps most of all, the shift has decreased pollution and improved air quality for residents. Sirin Hellvin Stav, the vice mayor of environment and transport in Oslo, highlights emission reduction as the primary mission – and one with direct benefits.

“The goal is to cut emissions, which is why E.V.s are so important, but also to make the city better to live in,” Ms. Stav said in an interview.

The early results of Norway’s EV adoption seem promising. Beyond the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from the tailpipes of gas cars, the results also show a significant drop in nitrogen oxides, a gasoline byproduct that causes smog and health issues like asthma. As a result, Oslo’s Chief Engineer for Air Quality Tobias Wolf says that the country is “on the verge of solving the NOx problem.”

Tesla has become a household name in Oslo with EV adoption, alongside Volkswagen’s Skoda and Audi brands. Tesla captured about 30 percent of the EV market last year, while VW’s brands followed with a combined total of about 19 percent. Other automakers like China’s BYD and Xpeng Motors have also been increasing in the country.

“Tesla has shaken the industry,” said Petter Hellman, the chief executive of Norway’s largest automotive retailer, Moller Mobility.

Hellman expects traditional automakers to gain lost ground on Tesla, with his outlets selling many VW’s electric models like the ID.4 and the ID.Buzz. Only a few ICE vehicles can be found on the company’s Oslo lot.

Despite Norway’s leap into an EV future, certain issues still remain like charger availability for apartment dwellers and overall charger reliability. Norway still produces fossil fuels for now, but the country represents what much of the world could start to look like in the coming decades, as the world shifts toward clean energy solutions.

Read Ewing’s full article in The New York Times on life in Norway since reaching 80% EV sales in 2022 here.

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