Sovereign Subsidies Fuel Norwegian Tesla Registrations

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon

Not too long ago, Tesla set up shop in Norway, looking to gain some market share in the frosty nation of 5 million.

Little did anyone know just how big the share would grow.

According to Freakonomics, Norway is the second largest market for the premium EV automaker, with March 2014 being the best month in Model S orders thus far. However, not only was it the best month for Tesla, it was the best month for breaking a record: 1,493 units registered, the most units ever recorded with Norwegian authorities in one month since Ford moved 1,454 Sierras in May of 1986.

Through the first nine months of 2014, the automaker averaged 435 regisrations per month, despite the price for a new Model S beginning at kr461,000 (~$68,000 USD); never mind how much a used Model S goes for up there.

How is this possible? Subsidies and incentives so huge it would make the Japanese government blush. Those subsidies help bring the price down to levels found among gasoline-powered vehicles, and are fueled, ironically, by a sovereign wealth fund created from Norway’s massive oil reserves. The fund was created to future-proof the nation from “Dutch Disease”: Over-specialization in the production and export of natural resources at the expense of every other industry in a given country.

Alas, those subsidies won’t last long: Only the first 50,000 registrations will enjoy the perks of pushing a green future.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on Oct 29, 2014

    In a country of 5 million, less than Massachusetts, the 1493 Teslas sold in one month is astounding, equivalent to 1.1 million annually in the US. Just how big ARE those subsidies?

  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Oct 29, 2014

    The Scandinavian nations really are the shining counterpoint to the adage that government can't do anything right. It seems like citizenry really get the government they a) expect, and b) deserve.

    • See 11 previous
    • 319583076 319583076 on Oct 29, 2014

      @stuki *crickets chirping*

  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on Oct 29, 2014

    In a country of 5 million, 1493 Teslas in a month is astounding, equivalent to 1.1 million in the US annually.

    • Zykotec Zykotec on Oct 29, 2014

      If you could get a car that is close to a BMW 550i Gran Turismo for the price of a loaded Ford Fusion in the US, what car would you buy ? Then add in the free toll roads, parking, reduced fueling costs (gas is $2.50 pr litre over here) I'm looking forward to swimming in cheap used Teslas 15 years from now, just like I did with the previous record holder, the Ford Sierra :)

  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on Oct 29, 2014

    @Psar +1