GM Hypes Norway's EV Leadership

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai

Actor Will Farrell describes Norway’s EV leadership in one of the more amusing Super Bowl commercials, and how General Motors is looking to change all that here at home.

According to a article, in March 2019 almost 60 percent of new cars sold in Norway were electric vehicles (EV), in a country bent on stopping the sale of fossil-fueled vehicles by 2025. While unit sales of EVs are higher in China and the U.S., the percentage of EVs in Norway is higher than anywhere else in the world.

The reasons are numerous, not the least of which is Norway’s domestic hydroelectric production. With almost all their electricity coming from a renewable source, it’s easier and infinitely less expensive than it would be for a conversion to occur here. Add the financial incentives and charging infrastructure the Norwegian government has put in place, and it’s a near-perfect scenario you likely won’t see happening in the U.S. anytime soon.

Lowered road taxes, removal of toll road and ferry charges, and free parking were among the benefits of EV ownership in Norway as far back as 1990. A 25 percent sales tax on new EVs was lifted in 2001, and you could drive your EV in the bus lane starting in 2005. While the government started building charging stations, now private enterprise has taken over, and there’s even overseas interest in their construction and operation. All this for a country of 5 million Norwegians, or about the size of South Carolina, our 23rd most populated state.

Working with such a small base, it’s understandable why the government reached its goal of 50,000 zero-emission vehicles in operation three years earlier than they had anticipated. The used-car market in Norway remains gas-powered, so incentives for EV ownership are seen as nothing more than tax cuts for the wealthy. Many Norwegians argue it’s doing nothing to take gas-fueled vehicles off the road, but what would you expect in a country obsessed with electric-powered technology, in aircraft, boats, and other sectors?

You only need to look at Norway’s neighbor, Sweden, to see the folly in attempting to replicate what was done there. In 2010, Sweden had more new EV registrations than Norway. Today, Norway’s EV numbers are ten times that of Sweden. Why? The demand for electricity in cities increased faster than the availability of kW hours, especially in Stockholm, the capital. Just as they are recommending here, power companies and EV advocacy groups want to incentivize EV owners to charge only during off-peak hours so as not to overtax our power grid. Fascinating, no?

[Images: General Motors]

Jason R. Sakurai
Jason R. Sakurai

With a father who owned a dealership, I literally grew up in the business. After college, I worked for GM, Nissan and Mazda, writing articles for automotive enthusiast magazines as a side gig. I discovered you could make a living selling ad space at Four Wheeler magazine, before I moved on to selling TV for the National Hot Rod Association. After that, I started Roadhouse, a marketing, advertising and PR firm dedicated to the automotive, outdoor/apparel, and entertainment industries. Through the years, I continued writing, shooting, and editing. It keep things interesting.

More by Jason R. Sakurai

Join the conversation
5 of 23 comments
  • Ralahamy Ralahamy on Feb 11, 2021

    Barron's Article today "Electric Vehicles Were a Nonstarter—Until Tesla Came Along".

    • See 1 previous
    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Feb 12, 2021

      Dear Barrons, Still are and likely well remain, which is why technocrats and tyrants will continue attack the competition. Because the message is clear: the beatings will continue until morale improves. Thanks, 28

  • Jdmcomp Jdmcomp on Feb 12, 2021

    The idea of a oil rich country claiming to be green is a laugh. The oil they are selling and funding the EV program with will be used by others and Norway will be affected by it. And using government power to force a solution on its population goes against the grain for most. Norway is a very small country (5 mil), and what ever it does is not a model for the rest of the world. One only has to look at the mental illness rate and suicide rate to wonder what is going on.

    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Feb 12, 2021

      Well put. "The idea of a oil rich country claiming to be green is a laugh." Saudi Arabia will be the next to claim this :D

  • Bkojote Allright, actual person who knows trucks here, the article gets it a bit wrong.First off, the Maverick is not at all comparable to a Tacoma just because they're both Hybrids. Or lemme be blunt, the butch-est non-hybrid Maverick Tremor is suitable for 2/10 difficulty trails, a Trailhunter is for about 5/10 or maybe 6/10, just about the upper end of any stock vehicle you're buying from the factory. Aside from a Sasquatch Bronco or Rubicon Jeep Wrangler you're looking at something you're towing back if you want more capability (or perhaps something you /wish/ you were towing back.)Now, where the real world difference should play out is on the trail, where a lot of low speed crawling usually saps efficiency, especially when loaded to the gills. Real world MPG from a 4Runner is about 12-13mpg, So if this loaded-with-overlander-catalog Trailhunter is still pulling in the 20's - or even 18-19, that's a massive improvement.
  • Lou_BC "That’s expensive for a midsize pickup" All of the "offroad" midsize trucks fall in that 65k USD range. The ZR2 is probably the cheapest ( without Bison option).
  • Lou_BC There are a few in my town. They come out on sunny days. I'd rather spend $29k on a square body Chevy
  • Lou_BC I had a 2010 Ford F150 and 2010 Toyota Sienna. The F150 went through 3 sets of brakes and Sienna 2 sets. Similar mileage and 10 year span.4 sets tires on F150. Truck needed a set of rear shocks and front axle seals. The solenoid in the T-case was replaced under warranty. I replaced a "blend door motor" on heater. Sienna needed a water pump and heater blower both on warranty. One TSB then recall on spare tire cable. Has a limp mode due to an engine sensor failure. At 11 years old I had to replace clutch pack in rear diff F150. My ZR2 diesel at 55,000 km. Needs new tires. Duratrac's worn and chewed up. Needed front end alignment (1st time ever on any truck I've owned).Rear brakes worn out. Left pads were to metal. Chevy rear brakes don't like offroad. Weird "inside out" dents in a few spots rear fenders. Typically GM can't really build an offroad truck issue. They won't warranty. Has fender-well liners. Tore off one rear shock protector. Was cheaper to order from GM warehouse through parts supplier than through Chevy dealer. Lots of squeaks and rattles. Infotainment has crashed a few times. Seat heater modual was on recall. One of those post sale retrofit.Local dealer is horrific. If my son can't service or repair it, I'll drive 120 km to the next town. 1st and last Chevy. Love the drivetrain and suspension. Fit and finish mediocre. Dealer sucks.
  • MaintenanceCosts You expect everything on Amazon and eBay to be fake, but it's a shame to see fake stuff on Summit Racing. Glad they pulled it.