An early Tesla Roadster outside the Norwegian Parliament in 2009. Photo: Liberal Party
Norway is to strip electric cars of their nationwide right to drive in bus lanes, removing a key incentive that has helped turn the Nordic country into the world’s leader for electric vehicles.
According to Norway's NRK, the Conservative, Liberal and Christian Democrat parties agreed in a meeting on Tuesday night to end the nationwide right for electric vehicles to drive in bus lanes, and also to end their exemptions from road tolls and parking charges.
The agreement instead gives local authorities the right to decide whether electric cars can hold onto these incentives, a change likely to mean that they are stripped away in major cities such as Oslo and Bergen.
In the three years since the Norwegian government slashed taxes on electric vehicles, and brought in a long list of other incentives, Norwegians have bought no fewer that 50,000 electric cars.
A full fifth of new cars bought in the country over the period have been electric, with the country single-handedly buying a third of the electric cars sold in Europe.
The growing number of electric vehicles on the road, particularly in Oslo, has led to complaints of growing
congestion in bus lanes.
Following late-night negotiations Wednesday, the right-wing government and its centre-right allies agreed to maintain the tax exemptions until 2017.
But electric car owners will be required to pay half of the yearly road license fee as of January 2018 and the full rate as of 2020.
The value-added tax (VAT) exemption for electric cars could be replaced by a subsidy of the same amount, which may be subjected to a ceiling that could be reduced as technology develops.