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Tesla Model 3 Helps Norway Hit Record Electric Vehicle Sales in 2019

Cars are seen charging in free parking spaces for electric cars in central Oslo.

© AFP PHOTO / PIERRE-HENRY DESHAYES

Cars are seen charging in free parking spaces for electric cars in central Oslo. © AFP PHOTO / PIERRE-HENRY DESHAYES

Norway offers an advantageous tax benefit to electric and hybrid vehicles, making them quite competitive in the market against petrol and diesel variants.

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Sales of new electric cars in Norway hit a record high last year, sector experts said, reaching 42.4 per cent of all nearly-registered cars in 2019, mostly thanks to strong demand for Tesla's Model 3. Norway, a major oil producer that has pioneered electric mobility, offers a very advantageous tax regime for clean vehicles, making them highly competitive in cost terms against petrol and diesel vehicles. New e-car models arriving on the market should help push their share higher still this year, said OFV, a body which monitors Norway's car market.

In 2019, 60,316 all-electric new cars were sold in Norway out of a total of 142,381, a rise of 30.8 per cent from the previous year when the market share of e-cars was 31.2 per cent. The Norwegian car importer association said it expects e-cars to take a market share for new cars of 55 to 60 per cent in 2020. New models including the Volkswagen ID.3, the Ford Mustang Mach-e, the Polestar 2 and the Peugeot e-208 are expected to boost e-car sales.

"Today, in 2020 and in the years to come, a much larger range of cars is coming, with increased autonomy, greater size and in affordable price segments," said OFV boss Oyvind Solberg Thorsen. US firm Tesla was the biggest single seller of e-cars in Norway last year, with its latest Model 3 alone selling 15,700 units.

Norway's Electric Vehicle Association called the numbers "very positive" but told AFP it had hoped for e-cars to account for 50 per cent of new car sales last year. The association's secretary-general, Christina Bu, called on the government to maintain tax breaks for electric cars, which have become the topic of much debate in the Scandinavian country.

Norway, where electricity is almost exclusively generated by hydropower, has a 2025 target for all new cars to be zero-emission models. Hybrid cars, which run on both thermal and electric energy, accounted for 25.9 per cent of the new car market in Norway last year, while petrol and diesel cars accounted for around 16 per cent each.

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