GM Hypes Norway's EV Leadership

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai
gm hypes norways ev leadership

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 Forbes.com 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]

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  • 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

  • SCE to AUX Toyota the follower, as usual. It will be 5 years before such a vehicle is available.I can't think of anything innovative from them since the Gen 1 Prius. Even their mythical solid state battery remains vaporware.They look like pre-2009 General Motors. They could fall hard.
  • Chris P Bacon I've always liked the looks of the Clubman, especially the original model. But like a few others here, I've had the Countryman as a rental, and for the price point, I couldn't see spending my own money on one. Maybe with a stick it would be a little more fun, but that 3 cylinder engine just couldn't provide the kick I expected.
  • EBFlex Recall number 13 for the 2020 Explorer and the 2020 MKExplorer.
  • CEastwood Every time something like this is mentioned it almost never happens because the auto maker is afraid of it taking sales away from an existing model - the Tacoma in this instance . It's why VW never brought the Scirrocco and Polo stateside fearful of losing Golf sales .
  • Bca65698966 V6 Accord owner here. The VTEC crossover is definitely a thing, especially after I got a performance tune for the car. The loss of VTEC will probably result in a slower vehicle overall for one reason: power under the curve. While the peak horsepower may remain the same, the amount of horsepower and torque up to that peak may be less overall. The beauty of variable cam lift is not only the ability to gain more power at upper rpm’s on the “big cam”, but the ability to gain torque down low on the “small cam”. Low rpm torque gets the vehicle moving and then big horsepower at upper rpm’s gains speed. Having only one cam profile is now introducing a compromise versus the VTEC setup. I guess it’s possible that with direct injection they are able to keep the low rpm torque there (I’ve read that DI helps with low rpm torque) but I’m skeptical it will match a well tuned variable lift setup.
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