By on November 4, 2013

Tesla_Model_S_Nissan_LEAF_Peugeot_iOn_Buddy_Th!nk_in_Oslo_2013_cropped

Spurred by tax breaks, free recharging stations, free parking and other benefits for EV drivers worth up to $8,100 (about 6,000 euros) a year per car, electric cars are doing very well in Norway. Reuters reports that Tesla’s Model S was the best selling car in Norway in September and Nissan’s Leaf was the market leader in October. Last month 716 Leafs were sold, a 6% market share, beating out the Toyota Auris and the VW Golf. For the year, the Leaf is the fourth best selling car in Norway with 3.2% of the total market.

The small country is an ideal place for EVs, and those of its 5 million residents who chose to drive electrically enjoy generous subsidies, free parking and recharging locations, free tolls and access to bus lanes to avoid heavy traffic.

In September, 616 Model S EVs were sold by Tesla, but that was a onetime blip due to a shipment of backlogged orders. In October Tesla sold 98 cars.

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14 Comments on “Following Tesla Success in Sept. Nissan Leaf Tops Norway Oct. Car Sales...”


  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Despite its EV-challenging weather, Norway is probably a good place for these cars. The country has abundant hydropower, so electricity is cheap and, unlike in many parts of the US and perhaps elsewhere in the world, this makes the Leaf and other EVs truly “emissions-free.” Given the challenges of the weather, intercity travel in Norway is perhaps better done on the excellent rail system than in a private car. I have the sense that a lot of Norwegians use at least one car as a commuter runabout, which is where the Leaf excels.

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      Norway has a sea climate so i don’t know if it gets that cold. Especially were the people live.

    • 0 avatar
      Sjalabais

      Where do you see that “excellent rail system”? It is a frail, ancient system reaching only a select few of the country’s inhabitants. Right around my house the Oslo-Bergen-train, connecting the two biggest cities, needs to slow down to 30km/h because of 100 year old infrastructure. Signal elements fail regularly even in the capital, and most of the machinery is from the 60s and 80s. Newer Bombardier trains are not suitable to cross the mountains, since they will rather go on top of snow avalanches than punch right through them. Norway is one of few countries in the world with more than 1% of all communication run by plane.

  • avatar
    Scott_314

    That’s excellent, EV’s can and do work for general use even in Norway. And Norway isn’t really an ideal place, it’s cold and they like to drive in the country too, though it is admittedly more of an urban country than most of the US.

    A lot of those subsidies and infrastructure are possible because Norway has oil. But instead of burning it cheap for short-term gain, they charge high gas taxes. They also have a large savings fund.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Given that the base Leaf lists for about $38k in Norway (somewhat higher than in the US), I still don’t know where $8100 A YEAR savings would come from.

    The waived VAT tax savings must be enormous. Electricity doesn’t cost that much, and neither would parking.

    One feature of Norway is the proliferation of quick chargers – something sorely lacking in the US for the Leaf. Even though they’re not good for battery life, they would enable longer commutes for Leaf drivers. Tesla is learning this lesson in Norway, too, and soon the entire country will be covered by the Supercharger network.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Tesla’s supercharging doesn’t affect the battery warranty in any way, are the Leaf’s batteries not covered for regular/constant quick charging?

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Nissan permits up to 1 rapid charge per day. It’s meaningless to me because I’ve never even seen a CHAdeMO charger since there are almost none in the US.

        Nissan also recommends filling only to 80%, which is all I do. I have filled to 100% only a few times, and it’s not that great anyway since you get no regeneration if the pack is full already.

        Cars like your Volt and a Prius aren’t as sensitive to these issues since the batteries in these hybrids are managed differently.

        While I admire Tesla, I do think they’re selling cars with dubious claims for the battery’s durability if quick charging.

    • 0 avatar
      Sjalabais

      VAT is 25%, but lots of other taxes apply. A fairly standard Volvo XC90 will set you back about 150000$.
      http://www.volvocars.com/no/mobile/Pages/default.aspx

      The Tesla S can be had for 400000kr. It is often compared to a similar Panamera which starts at 1200000kr.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Yikes. What did the folks who purchased the first few years of XC90 do when they started having serious issues?

        • 0 avatar
          Sjalabais

          Complain loudly and let Volvo fix it. To stay with the example, used car prices are depreciated accordingly. Import tolls on used cars prevent bigger price drops.

          http://m.finn.no/car/used/search.html?model=7651

          http://www.toll.no/templates_TAD/MainTopic.aspx?id=219606&epslanguage=en

  • avatar
    stingray65

    I live outside Oslo and can tell you that it does get cold in the winter, although not Minnesota, North Dakota cold. EV subsidies are far larger than indicated in the article. The elimination of new car taxes for EVs means that a Leaf buyer gets a discount of about $16,000 versus a comparable gasoline or diesel car, while a Tesla S buyers gets a discount of $50,000+ versus a comparable BMW or Mercedes. Add in the other benefits, and an EV buyer can expect to save $30,000 to $80,000 over the life of the vehicle. Environmentally it is questionable whether there are any benefits, because most Norwegian EV buyers are either trading in their bus passes or adding the EV as a 2nd or 3rd car to their fleet, and manufacturing emissions from these extra vehicles probably more than offset any reductions from driving, even though virtually all of Norwegian electricity is zero-emission hydro-power. Thus you can get 3 to 5% of new car buyers to convert to EVs is you pay them a lot of money to do it.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Seems to me that if you buy an EV in Norway you get to keep more of your own money? That’d be reason enough for me, if I were Norwegian..

      Incidentally, are Norwegian buses and other mass-transit electrically-powered? I’d figure subways/trams/light rail would be, but buses would be diesel or CNG. Getting people off of buses and into EVs would improve Norwegian self-sufficiency and national wealth, since there’d be more hydrocarbons available to export.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        You are absolutely correct that buying an EV in Norway lets you keep more of your money. The problem for left-leaning parties is that Norwegian government funding for other programs such as education, health care, infrastructure, etc. get short-changed so that the nation’s wealthiest citizens get a tax-break on their commuter car. For right leaning parties EV subsidies mean that tax breaks are less likely to be given to industry sectors or the general public that would likely generate more wealth and/or jobs.


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