Are electric cars really a thing in Norway? | #nordicinsider


Since I just announced my new post series the other day, I thought I might as well dive right into it. Originally, I wanted to make this a bi-weekly feature talking about whatever happens to be on my mind at the moment - but since I got quite a few really interesting questions on Instagram lately, I decided to start off featuring those.

After all, I want this to be all about YOU and your questions/feedback!

Are electric cars really a thing in Norway? Click through to find out!

So, the other day I got this question on Instagram:

Are electric cars really a thing in Norway? I mean... it’s a huge country. Do they hide a large battery somewhere in the mountains?

LOL! Well, I don’t know about the battery, though, how awesome would that be?!

To be honest with you, I get this question all the time working as a tour guide. Apparently, whenever international media report about Norway nowadays, it’s either for tourism purposes or to talk about electric cars. The latter seems to have sparked quite an interest abroad:

Thus, the short answer to the question is:

Yes, electric cars really are a thing in Norway.

But why?

Well, before I started working as a tour guide, I didn’t know either. I sold my own car 5 years ago, to fund my travels and study abroad (well, part of it anyway - not that it lasted me long), and I haven’t owned (or even driven) a car since.

Living in cities like Tromsø and Stavanger with a pretty decent bus network, I just never really needed a car. And whenever Simon and I did decide to go on a road trip, we just rented one - easy peasy!

electric cars norway

Frankly speaking, I didn’t really follow the news regarding electric cars as it just didn’t concern me much. Which yes, was a total mistake! Imagine my surprise when I learnt how long this “electric car revolution” has actually been taking place in Norway already!

why electric cars really are a thing in norway:

  • as of 1997, if you drive an electric car in Norway, you don’t need to pay for ferry crossing or tolls (though the latter rule will undergo some changes soon)

  • since 1999, you can park your electric car for free on municipal parking grounds

  • since 2001, you’re not required to pay VAT when purchasing an electric car in Norway (and since 2015, you don’t have to pay it when leasing one either)

And furthermore:

The Norwegian Parliament have decided on a goal that all new cars sold by 2025 should be zero (electric or hydrogen) or low (plug-in hybrids) emission. This is a very ambitious but feasible goal with the right policy measures. The Parliament will reach this goal with a strengthened green tax system based on the polluter pays principle, not a ban.
— Norsk elbilforening

The emphasis here is on new cars. You’ll of course be able to still buy used non-electric cars after 2025, so it’s not like coming January 2025, all cars on Norway’s roads will be electric.

The government is however trying to provide incentive after incentive for people to buy electric cars and one HUGE issue here in Stavanger at the moment are the new toll stations that will be set up in October.

Demonstrations against toll fees

Basically, there will be 38 new toll stations in the greater Stavanger region alone and people have to pay not only toll, but also a so-called “rush hour charge” between 7-9am and 3-5pm. From October 1st, the standard toll charge is 44 NOK during rush hour and 22 NOK during the rest of the day.

Locals have been extremely upset about the new rules and there have been several demonstrations against the new toll stations already - for instance at the local bridge (picture below) that leads into town, which was blocked by demonstrators for an evening, but also at the airport.

bompenger stavanger

And if you’ve ever met any Norwegian in real life, you know that they are usually pretty relaxed and friendly - but not when it comes to tolls in Stavanger, no. This topic has dominated the local news for several months now and people are really, really, really pissed off.

The money that is being raised through the new toll stations is going to be used to improve existing (and build new) cycle and bus lanes, as well as improve the road conditions in general, though.

And guess what: Drivers of electric cars don’t need to pay any toll charges, ever!
There’s that incentive again…

What about charging your car, though?
Norway is huge!

The Norwegian Government has launched a program to finance the establishment of at least two multi standard fast charging stations every 50 km on all main roads in Norway by 2017.
— Norsk elbilforening

This is a statement of the Norwegian Electric Car Association. By the time of publishing this article, they don’t provide any information on what happened to those stations, considering we’re way into 2018 now.

A look at the map providing an overview of all charging stations in the country, reveals the answer, though:

There are currently 147 charging stations in the greater Oslo area; 53 in and around Bergen, 31 in and around Trondheim and 8 in the greater Tromsø area.

And can you guess how many charging stations there are in the northernmost region of Norway, Finnmark? Zero. Absolutely none.

Which, I guess answers our question from the beginning quite nicely: Yes, there are electric cars in Norway and yes, you can go on a road trip through the country in an electric car - as long as you don’t dare and visit Finnmark.

Which is shame to be honest, as Finnmark is arguably the most peaceful (because least densely populated) region of Norway!

Are you interested in reading more about the topic? Electric cars in Norway have their own Wikipedia-page and you can access the overview map of all charging stations mentioned above, here.

Do you have anything to add? Any further questions? Or maybe your own country is even more advanced when it comes to electric cars?

Leave a comment below!