Norway tops the electric vehicle charts globally, with nearly a third of new car sales in 2018 being pure EVs

Nearly a third of new cars sold in Norway last year were pure electric models, consolidating the Scandinavian country’s lead in electric car sales per capita globally, Reuters reports.

According to statistics revealed by the independent Norwegian Road Federation (NRF), sales of EVs climbed to 31.2% of the total industry volume of 147,929 units in 2018. It’s a jump up from the 20.8% managed in 2017 and a significant gain from the 5.5% recorded in 2013.

Electric car sales amounted to 46,092 units, and the best-selling model was the Nissan Leaf, with 12,303 units sold. The BMW i3 also performed well, with 5,687 units shifted in that market.

The progress keeps the country’s aim of having 100% of all new car sales being of the zero emission variety by 2025 on track. In 2016 it had announced that it will be halting the sale of petrol and diesel-powered vehicles by then.

Oeyvind Solberg Thorsen, head of the NRF, said the increase in EV sales brings it a small step closer to the 2025 goal, but added that there was still a long way to go, given that two-thirds of the total were still fossil fuel vehicles or hybrids.

In a bid to push electrification, Norway exempts battery-driven cars from most taxes and offers benefits such as free parking and charging points to help propel the change. Despite this, some doubt that the 2025 target can be achieved. Consultancy firm Institute of Transport Economics (ITE) said the segment may be able to get to a 75% market share, provided that tax breaks are maintained.

“Strictly speaking I don’t think it’s possible, primarily because too many people don’t have a private parking space and won’t want to buy a plug-in car if they can’t establish a charging point at home,” said ITE economist Lasse Fridstroem.

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