Norway’s Transport Minister Discusses Electric Cars
Norwegian Transport Minister Ketil Solvik-Olsen recently shared its thoughts on electric car adoption in Norway.
Norway has by far the largest share of EVs in new car sales (some months over 20%) and per capita in the world.
Those results comes from high incentives that are provided for the first 50,000 EVs – we should note there is not an automatic mechanism to remove them as soon as that number is reached:
“A few years ago, we introduced tax breaks and other incentives for electric car buyers. Compared to vehicles running on fuel, electric cars come at a very good price. Moreover, if you drive an electric car, you can park and use all the roads for free, including ferry rides in Norway, and drive in bus lanes. We invested heavily in recharging infrastructure, which together with the incentives encouraged people to buy electric cars. It helped cut CO2 emissions in our cities and put in place a sustainable model with vehicles running on clean electricity.”
But could other countries follow the footsteps of Norway?
Q: Do you think other countries could learn from Norway’s experience?
A: It depends. Norway has a surplus of energy from the hydroelectric power plants because we are building a lot of wind farms and hydro generators. But if countries start building poweplants to feed the electric car grid, shifting from car to plant emissions, it might not be worthwhile.
Each country will have to look at their power supply. Our experience might not work in countries with a strong automobile industry. We succeeded in increasing electric car sales, because we kept high taxes on regular cars and cut taxes on electric cars.
Soon, the mark of 50,000 EVs will be reached, but Norway already has problems with some congested bus lanes due to too many electric cars. Incentives will be step-by-step softened.
Q: With more electric cars on the road there, there was congestion in the bus lanes and a loss off ferry companies revenues. How are you addressing these challenges?
A: The parliament passed legislation on electric cars in 2007 after discussions on climate change. The agreement was that there would be no taxes on electric cars, and we’ll keep the perks until 50000 electric cars are on the roads. But the market developed so much faster than we expected. As we succeeded a lot faster than we thought, we are now looking into easing up on these problems this year.
Electric cars will continue to be treated favourably in the tax system. Most likely, we will not remove all electric cars from the bus lanes but we’ll probably close down one or two of them where electric cars are too many and are creating a problem. There will be changes. Some of the benefits will slowly go away. But we hope that the market itself will also provide cheaper electric cars, even though some perks will be lost. “
Video of interview below: