Electric Vehicles made up majority of new car sales in Norway in 2021

Nearly two-thirds of all new car registrations in Norway in 2021 were electric vehicles (EVs), an industry body said Monday, a figure unmatched in the world.

Pictured is a lineup of Toyota EV's.
Norway has long been ahead of the curve when it comes to the EV sales. Pictured is a lineup of EV's made by Toyota. Photo by Behrouz Mehri/ AFP.

Of all new cars sold in the Scandinavian country last year, 64.5 percent were battery-powered vehicles, compared with 54.3 percent in 2020, according to Opplysningsradet for Veitrafikken (OFV, “Information Council for Road Traffic”).

Thanks in particular to its Model 3, US electric car manufacturer Tesla took 11.6 percent of the market share and was the single best-selling brand in 2021 with over 20,000 units sold.

The proportion of electric cars is unparallelled in the world and was reported against a backdrop of record new car registrations in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic, with 176,276 new cars sold in Norway, including 113,715 electric cars.

“Few had envisaged that 2021 would be a record year for new car sales in Norway. And no country in the world has had such a growth in electric car sales as Norway,” OFV director Oyvind Solberg Thorsen said in a statement.

“We may already have half a million electric cars in total in the Norwegian fleet as early as March. This starts to approach 20 per cent of a total of 2.8 million passenger cars. This is quite formidable,” he added.

Norway — which is also Western Europe’s largest oil producer– has set a goal to have all new cars be zero-emission, meaning electric and
hydrogen-powered, by 2025.

To propel the adoption of EVs, they are virtually tax-free in the country, making their prices much more competitive even if other benefits — such as being exempt from tolls and being able to use lanes reserved for public transport — have been partly cut back.

The Norwegian EV Association hailed a “milestone” and said it expected sales of electric vehicles to account for over 80 percent of new cars in 2022 as new models were brought to market.

“For the first time a fully electric car brand is topping the list of the new cars sold in Norway,” secretary general of the Norwegian EV Association, Christina Bu, was quoted on the organisation’s website in hailing Tesla’s showing.

Older brands, such as Germany’s Volkswagen and Japan’s Toyota were also among the top sellers.

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SAS pilot unions delay strike for three days of extra talks

Sweden’s pilot union has agreed to postpone the strike planned for Wednesday by three days in the hope of striking a last minute deal with the SAS airline.

SAS pilot unions delay strike for three days of extra talks

The strike, due to start on June 29th, has been pushed forward until just after midnight on July 1st, to provide time for extra negotiations with the Scandinavian airline’s management over a new collective bargaining agreement. 

After weeks with intensive negotiations over a new agreement between SAS leadership and 1,000 of the airline’s pilots, both sides are now willing to continue discussions, pushing back the deadline by three days. 

“SAS and the Norwegian pilot union are in agreement that we will continue negotiations for three days,” Norwegian national mediator Mats Wilhelm Ruland said. “There’s been intensive work towards finding a solution.”

Karin Nyman, Swedish press officer for SAS, said that the company was glad to have been given more time.

“It means above everything else that our customers will be able to travel over the next few days,” she told Swedish newswire TT.

Martin Lindgren, chairman of the Swedish SAS branch of the Swedish Air Line Pilots Association (SPF), would not comment on the content of the negotiations, but said that it was worth continuing to try and reach an agreement.

“We feel a great responsibility towards both SAS and our members, but above all towards our passengers,” he said in a press statement.

“Although we have gone to great lengths to come to an agreement, many issues remain unsolved. The strike can only be avoided if SAS show a real will to meet us. As of now, we’re choosing to give the other side yet another chance to do that.”

The airline’s Danish press officer, Alexandra Kaoukji, wrote in a statement to Danish newswire Ritzau that mediators believe “there is a possibility of reaching consensus” on a new agreement between the airline and pilots.

“The new 72-hour deadline means that our passengers will be able to travel,” she told the newswire. “We’re very happy about that. Our hope is therefore that we can find a solution and that passengers will not be affected.”

Nyman was also hopeful that both sides would be able to come to an agreement without resorting to strike action.

“We can only state that we’ve had constructive talks in recent days in our negotiations, and obviously the mediators have then made the assessment that there is a chance of reaching an agreement,” she said.

Pilots are unhappy that SAS is hiring new pilots on cheaper contracts in their two subsidiaries, SAS Link and SAS Connect. If the two parties cannot come to an agreement, up to 30,000 SAS passengers could be affected per day, the airline said on June 27th.