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EVS27: Understanding Norway and its EV success

21 November 2013

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During the 27th edition of the Electric Vehicles Symposium (EVS 27) in Barcelona, held 18-20 November 2013, many presentations explored Norway’s successes with EVs, how these came about, and provided a glance at future plans. Below summarises the different surveys and presentations discussed at EVS27.
The positive relationship between Norway and electric vehicles is not new, but it has not always been constructive. For example, the company Think, created in the 90s, was heavily supported by the government but failed to show any positive results and filed four times for bankruptcy in 20 years.

Fortunately, Norway has not only been active in supporting the industry, but also in developing a realistic infrastructure plan and setting up a very favourable policy package for owners and users.

How did Norway become the world’s leading EV market?

Governmental incentives for buying and driving electric cars have contributed to the Norwegian EV success story. In a survey conducted by the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association, users were asked to post the three most important incentives for electric cars. The answer: there is no single incentive that excels above all others among electric car owners, the benefits depend on where you live and how you use your electric car.

However, the survey did reveal that for 17% of respondents, purchase tax exemptions are rated one of the most important incentives. The basic incentive means that the electric car is competitive with traditional cars at purchase, getting people to consider buying an electric car, and probably the main reason why Norway is ahead of the rest of Europe when it comes to sales per capita.

Find a summary of the full history in the infographic below:

Source: EV Norway - History 

What does the Norwegian EV market look like today?

By the end of September 2013, over 15,000 electric cars were registered in Norway, with 45% of them being Nissan LEAFs. Over 3% of all cars sold in 2012 were electric, and for 2013, it is expected that it will reach 5% (7,000 electric cars).

78% of EVs are registered by individuals, and 22% by companies (for the whole car market the share is 60% by individuals and 40% by companies).

Most EVs are registered in and around urban areas, but surprisingly the market share for electric cars is currently growing faster in rural areas than in the cities.

More than 4,500 public charging points are available in Norway, thanks to Transnova’s national EV infrastructure program and Oslo’s local program. Norway is gradually adopting the Mode 3 Type 2 standard, like the rest of Europe.

Out of these 4,500 charging points, 79 are fast-charging points using CHAdeMO standard.

Who is the typical Norwegian user?

“The typical Norwegian EV user is a middle-aged family father with higher education and income, who owns a Nissan LEAF as one of two cars”, according to a 2013 survey on 1858 EV users and owners in Norway, conducted by the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association.

“He uses his electric car on a daily basis instead of a traditional petrol or diesel car. He uses the electric car for commuting, after work activities, and not for longer holiday trips. He agrees that his electric car saves him money and time and he is very satisfied as an EV owner. His next car will also be electric. The typical EV owner has a charging outlet at home and probably also at work. He uses public charging stations less frequently.

Fast charging is important to extend the range of the electric car for longer journeys, and to improve security in case the battery accidentally runs empty. The typical Norwegian EV user is willing to pay between €2.5 and €6 for a 15 minute fast charging session. The location of fast chargers should be between cities and convenient locations where he drives on a regular basis.

In order to get more people to buy an electric car, the EV user highlights longer range and predictable EV policy as the two most important requirements. One challenge to the electric car manufacturers and one challenge to the world governments.”

The future: Scenarios for 2020

Based on the 2012 cross-political agreement in Norway, the fleet-average CO2 emissions from new passenger cars should reach 85gCO2/km in 2020, which is 10 grams below the intended 2020 EU target of 95gCO2/km.

Six scenarios evaluating the emissions in 2020 based on market penetration of BEVs and PHEVs, show that if Norway reaches 125,000 BEVs and 85,000 PHEVs by 2020, it will reach its goal of 85gCO2/km (also true in a more PHEV dominant scenario with 120,000 PHEVs and 105,000 BEVs).

Useful contacts

Pierre Wattré
Marketing & Sales at


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