Cars being charged in free parking spaces for electric cars in Oslo. Picture: REUTERS
Cars being charged in free parking spaces for electric cars in Oslo. Picture: REUTERS

Sales of new electric cars in Norway hit a record high in 2019, reaching 42.4% of all nearly registered cars, mostly thanks to strong demand for Tesla’s Model 3.

Norway, a major oil producer that has pioneered electric mobility, offers an advantageous tax regime for clean vehicles, making them competitive in cost terms against petrol and diesel vehicles. New e-car models arriving on the market should help push their share higher still this year, said OFV, a body that monitors Norway’s car market.

In 2019, 60,316 all-electric new cars were sold in Norway out of a total of 142,381, a rise of 30.8% from the previous year when the market share of e-cars was 31.2%. The Norwegian car importer association said it expects e-cars to take market share for new cars of 55% to 60% in 2020.

New models including the Volkswagen ID.3, the Ford Mustang Mach-e, the Polestar 2 and the Peugeot e-208 are expected to boost e-car sales. “Today, in 2020 and in the years to come, a much larger range of cars is coming, with increased autonomy, greater size and in affordable price segments,” said OFV boss Oyvind Solberg Thorsen.

US firm Tesla was the biggest single seller of e-cars in Norway in 2019, with its latest Model 3 selling 15,700 units.

Norway’s Electric Vehicle Association called the numbers “very positive” but told AFP it had hoped for e-cars to account for 50% of new car sales by 2019. The association’s secretary-general, Christina Bu, called on the government to maintain tax breaks for electric cars, which have become the topic of much debate in the Scandinavian country.

Norway, where electricity is almost exclusively generated by hydropower, has a 2025 target for all new cars to be zero-emission models.  Hybrid cars, which run on both thermal and electric energy, accounted for 25.9% of the new car market in Norway in 2019, while petrol and diesel cars accounted for about 16% each.

Only 154 electric cars were sold in SA last year, representing just 0.03% of the 508,570 market total.