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MONEY

What you need to know about owning an electric car in Norway

More and more motorists in Norway have decided to ditch the petrol pumps and go all-electric when it comes to their choice of vehicle. Before you take the plunge and splash out for a new battery-powered car in Norway, there's a few things you should know.

Pictured is an electric car charging.
Here's what you need to know about owning an electric car, which have outsold petrol cars in the country for a number of years in Norway. An electric car connects with a charger during the 'Motorshow' fair in the western German city of Essen on November 30, 2016. Photo by Patrick Stollarz/ AFP

In 2021, 64.5 percent of all new cars registered in Norway were EVs, or electric vehicles, the highest proportion of battery-powered vehicles being sold in the world.

The Scandinavian country has even set itself the lofty goal of having all new cars sold by 2025 be zero-emissions vehicles, meaning they are powered by either electric or hydrogen.

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

Why are electric cars so popular in Norway? 

Aside from offering an option to motorists concerned about their emissions, buying an electric car comes with several benefits.

Most of the benefits are financial incentives designed to make choosing an electric vehicle over a combustion engine car more feasible.

For example, there are no purchase or import taxes on electric cars, and they are currently exempt from VAT, EV owners also pay no CO2 or weight tax and pay reduced ferry fares.

The financial incentives to encourage people to opt for zero-emission vehicles mean that many EV models are cheaper to buy than their petrol counterparts. For example, it is cheaper for somebody to opt for an electric Volkswagen Golf over the equivalent petrol engine model, despite the electric Golf costing just under 11,000 euros more to import, according to electric motoring site elbil.no.

Another reason electric cars are so popular is the vast abundance of renewable energy. For example, hydropower provides 98 percent of all electricity in Norway. This helps to keep energy prices, and as a result charging prices, low.

What you should know if you are considering buying an electric car

One of the first things you will ponder when considering whether to take the plunge and opt for an EV is what the charging infrastructure is like.

More than 16,000 chargers are dotted around the country, including more than 3,300 fast chargers. This means there’s no need to be anxious about the range, as even in northern Norway, you can get about in an EV reasonably easily.

The best way to find a charging station is to check a map provided by ladestasjoner.no. To access the charging stations, you will need to sign up with the various providers in advance. There are around ten major providers.

You will also need to consider whether the range offered by the car is suitable for your day-to-day needs, regardless of the country’s charging infrastructure.

However, it isn’t all straightforward, and buying an electric car is becoming more expensive. If you purchase a used electric vehicle, you will need to pay a registration fee. You can check out the rates (in Norwegian) here.

In addition, from March 2022, the lower motor insurance fee for electric cars will be axed, meaning motorists will have to pay 2,975 a year in fees to insure their cars.

It is also unclear whether the VAT exemption will be retained into 2023 yet.

Another factor to consider is that electric cars suffer from range loss when the temperatures dip below freezing. Losing range on your battery could mean more charging stops and longer journey times.

Given Norway’s climate, this means that the range during winter will be consistently lower than during the more temperate months of the year.

However, it’s worth pointing out that all vehicles are less energy-efficient in cold weather.

When it comes to running costs, the (Information Council for Road Traffic) has found that, overall, maintaining and owning an electric car is better for your bank account than a traditional petrol or diesel engine vehicle.

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DRIVING

Trollstigen: Tips for driving Norway’s most famous road this summer

One of the country's most iconic roads, Trollstigen, has reopened for the summer season. But, before you buckle up and take in the spectacular scenery, there are a few things you should know. 

Trollstigen: Tips for driving Norway's most famous road this summer

Trollstigen, famous for its 11 hairpin turns draped over a breathtaking mountain pass, reopened for summer traffic on June 10th. 

Up to one million tourists, motorists, cyclists and motorcyclists are expected to take to the road in Møre og Romsdal, Western Norway. 

The road’s original reopening was delayed due to a series of avalanches in the valley this winter. The mountain pass is probably the most iconic of Norway’s 18 tourist route roads. So if you plan a trip this summer, you’ll want to know what to expect from the route. 

Where is Trollstigen? 

The road is located on country road 63 in the Rauma and Fjord municipalities in the Møre og Romsdal county of west Norway. The Geiranger to Trollstigen stretch is 104 kilometres long and has an elevation change of 1,000 metres. 

However, the most famous part of the road is the section which ascends, or descends, from Stigøra. This stretch of road is blanketed with 11 hairpin bends and is notable for being carved into the mountain, supported by stone walls and the impressive bridge which crosses the Stigfossen waterfall. 

What to see? 

Looking out of the windows will be the easiest place to start, but you shouldn’t just pass through the road and valley as there are plenty of places to stop. 

For starters, there is the large viewing platform which hovers 200 metres above the most picturesque stretch of road, with different observation points for both bold and more cautious visitors. 

Near the road’s end is Flydalsjuvet, located on the steep mountains that back onto the inner Geirangerfjord. The fjord is a UNESCO world heritage site, and the rest stop at Flydalsjuvet is excellent for taking photos.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Kristina Laurynaitytė (@kristina_lauryna)

If you get hungry, you can stop at the Gudbrandsjuvet viewing point. The café there is open from 10am until 5pm every day during the summer season. 

For more inspiration on where to stop and what to see, click here

Expect some congestion too

You may be left disappointed if you dream of having the open road ahead of you and the mountain pass all to yourself. The reason for this is that during the high season, 2,000 vehicles pass the Trollstigveien Plateau. This is the equivalent of a car every 10 seconds. 

Furthermore, the route is becoming a popular cycling destination, and slower vehicles such as mobile homes, which can struggle with the inclines, also use the road. Therefore you can expect slow-moving traffic. 

This may not be the worst thing in the world, as it means you’ll have more time to take in the views. If you prefer quieter roads then it is best taking the route outside of peak hours. 

Weather in the west of Norway can’t always be relied on

Perhaps after seeing a picture of the road, it’ll be easy to imagine yourself pootling down it, or meandering up it with the sun shining, windows opening and clear skies above. 

This may not be the case as the weather in west Norway doesn’t always cooperate, and grey skies and rain are relatively common during the summer. 

Due to the altitude, weather can also affect visibility significantly, so if you plan a trip to see the road especially, you should do so when the forecast is on your side. 

Checking the weather will help give more nervous drivers a heads up to whether they can expect wet or greasy roads, while cyclists and motorbike owners can avoid having their trip ruined by bucketing rain. 

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