Electric cars lose right to drive in Oslo bus lanes

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.

Electric cars lose right to drive in Oslo bus lanes
An early Tesla Roadster outside the Norwegian Parliament in 2009. Photo: Liberal Party

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.


Norway reaches 50 percent electric in 2020 new car sales

Norway became the first country in the world where electric cars accounted for more than 50 percent of new registrations in 2020, according to figures published Tuesday by an industry group.

Norway reaches 50 percent electric in 2020 new car sales
Photo: AFP

According to Opplysningsradet for Veitrafikken (OFV, “Information Council for Road Traffic”), electric vehicles accounted for 54.3 percent of the new car market last year, up from 42.4 percent a year earlier.

The four best-selling models in the Nordic country were the Audi e-tron, the Tesla Model 3, the Volkswagen ID.3 and the Nissan Leaf — all fully electric.

The fifth placed car — the Volkswagen Golf — can be bought in a rechargeable version but the statistics do not differentiate the engine types.

In December, electric car sales set a monthly record in Norway with 66.7 percent, with the numbers boosted by the arrival of new models, OFV said.

Industry group Norsk elbilforening (Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association) said separately to AFP that Norway was the first country to break the overall 50 percent threshold.

Norway, the largest producer of oil in Western Europe, is making headway in electric mobility thanks to heavy subsidies.

The Nordic country, where electricity is primarily produced from hydroelectric dams, aims to have all new cars being “zero emission” by 2025.

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