In 2021, close to 90% of passenger vehicles sold in Norway were electric vehicles (EVs), making Norway the EV capital of the world.

Why does Norway have so many EVs? What can we learn from their experience?

Government incentives

There are several reasons for the high uptake of EVs in Norway including:

  • subsidies to purchase
  • cheaper parking, tolls and ferry tickets for EV drivers
  • the right to use bus and taxi lanes for EV drivers in many areas
  • only EVs area allowed to drive in the city centre
  • EVs owners pay no, then lower annual road tax
  • diesel and petrol cars are heavily taxed to discourage their purchase – from 2025 their sale will be banned.

Variety and choice for consumers

There is a broad range of choice for consumers, with 40 new fully electric EV models launched in Norway in 2021. Car rental agencies offer EVs as the norm, e-bikes are commonplace and electrification is spreading to boats, ferries, buses and even to zero emission construction sites that use electric machinery.

Massive network of charging stations

Geographically, Norway is obviously much smaller than Australia so the rollout of charging stations has fewer barriers, however there is a huge network of more than 17,000 charging stations across the country, including 4000 rapid chargers.

Even in the more remote parts of Northern Norway (where they claim to have more reindeer than people), EV chargers are accessible.

Variety of charging options

While at home charging remains the most common way Norwegians charge their EV, destination charging is becoming more common (for example at work, airports and shopping centres). While the network of charging stations has all but eliminated range anxiety, charging anxiety remains an issue.

Such a rapid switch to EVs has not come without problems, including a proliferation of different charging apps, a need for multiple registrations to different platforms, and at peak times, queues for popular charging stations.

There are innovations in the types of charging options including:

  • inductive charging – cord free plates installed in the road used mostly by buses and taxis who park on top of the plate to charge
  • V2X – where your car battery can be used to charge another item (e.g. if you’re camping perhaps, or want to send energy back to the grid)
  • Battery as a service – which separates ownership of the EV and the battery and means you can swap out your battery instead of charging it, using special drive in – drive out stations.

Lessons for the Australian market

Norway shows us the importance of Government policy and incentives to drive early adoption. There are also lessons in the rollout of common standards and practices from the beginning. With so many participants in the EV value chain, it is important we collaborate across the wider industry to ensure the best consumer outcomes.

Source: Norway – the EV capital of the world (

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