Electric vehicles likely to be the new norm in Norway

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Almost one-third of all new cars sold in Norway last year ran on batteries, reinforcing the Nordic country’s reputation as the world’s best market for electric vehicles.

Oil-rich Norway aims to eliminate all emissions from new cars by 2025, and offers generous subsidies for buyers who opt to go electric. Other countries, including China, plan to follow suit later.

In 2018, all-electric cars made up 31.2 percent of the Norwegian market, an improvement of more than 10 percentage points from the the previous year, the Norwegian Road Federation said.

Three of the five most popular models were electric, with the Leaf from Nissan claiming the top spot, ahead of BMW’s i3 and Tesla’s Model X.

“In 2018, alternative-fuel cars consolidated their strong position in the market,” the federation’s director, Oyvind Solberg Thorsen, said in a statement.

Norway, a country of 5.3 million, has long been a world leader in sales of electric vehicles. It wasn’t until the first quarter of last year that it was surpassed by Germany, Europe’s biggest car market. The incentives that propped up the Norwegian market include exemption from sales taxes and road tolls.

Solberg Thorsen said he expects an even bigger share of battery-powered cars going forward, as there is still an untapped demand for more family-friendly electric vehicles, with longer range at reasonable prices.

“As more models reach the market this year, we should see an even larger share of zero-emission vehicles in the sales numbers,” Solberg Thorsen said.

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