Electric cars grab almost half of sales in oil-producing Norway

Tesla is the country's top-selling car brand of 2019

01 July 2019 - 19:50 By Reuters
A Tesla in Oslo, Norway.
A Tesla in Oslo, Norway.
Image: sergemi /123rf

Almost half of new cars sold in Norway in the first six months of 2019 were powered by fully electric engines, up from just over a quarter in the same period last year, ensuring the Nordic nation retains its top global ranking in electric vehicle sales.

Tesla's Model 3 was Norway's top-selling vehicle, the Norwegian Road Federation (NRF) said when announcing the latest sales data on Monday.

In total, 48.4% of all new cars sold from January to June were electric, surpassing the 31.2% seen for the full year 2018, and making oil-producing Norway the global leader in per-capita electric car sales by a wide margin.

Seeking to end the sale of diesel and petrol engines by the middle of the next decade, Norway exempts battery-driven cars from the heavy taxes imposed on vehicles powered by fossil fuel. It also offers benefits such as discounts on road tolls.

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The policy has boosted brands such as Tesla, Nissan , Hyundai and BMW, which all offer fully electric vehicles, rather than hybrids that use electric motors to drive the car but also have a combustion engine.

Brands without fully electric offerings, such as Ford and Daimler's Mercedes-Benz, have seen sales drop, although Ford and Mercedes are among several automakers that have promised to offer electric cars in Norway from 2020.

California-based Tesla sold 3,760 vehicles in Norway in June, for a 24.5% share of all cars during the month, and was also the top-selling brand for the first six months.

Most of its sales were of the mid-sized Model 3, while the bigger Model S and Model X have seen lower year-on-year volumes.

The International Energy Agency (IEA), which includes the more widely-sold plug-in hybrids when counting electric cars, measured Norway's share at 39% of sales in 2017, far ahead of second-placed Iceland on 12% and Sweden on 6%.