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How e-driving is becoming the norm in Norway

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Nowhere are electric cars as popular as in Norway, where people queue up to become the new owner of an e-car. The key to this success? Preferential treatment for drivers of electric cars.

In 2017, 1.6 percent of all cars in Belgium were e-cars, ranking our country sixth worldwide. Not bad, but no other country comes anywhere near the absolute frontrunner, Norway, where an impressive 24 percent of all cars on the road are e-cars. In 2017, half of all cars sold in the country were electric or hybrid cars. It is estimated that in 2018, 45 percent of all cars sold in Norway will be e-cars. How did the country manage to make this successful shift to sustainable mobility?

Fiscal support

It is quite simple: if you buy an e-car, you do not pay any import taxes or VAT. Owners of diesel and petrol cars, on the other hand, pay through the roof. Electricity is also cheaper than petrol and diesel, and this year road tax for e-cars was also abolished.

However, higher taxes are not the only reason why petrol and diesel cars are being phased out. Those cars are also much more expensive to buy in the first place. In Norway, you pay up to double what you would pay in Belgium for a diesel car. Despite the Norwegians’ higher net income, that is still a high price to pay.

Great little extras

Driving an e-car also has other advantages. In Norway, e-cars are powered almost exclusively by green electricity generated by local hydroelectric plants. In Oslo, the electricity needed to charge these cars is even free. Moreover, e-cars can be parked free of charge in underground car parks, they can use bus lanes when there is heavy traffic, they do not pay to board the ferry boat, and toll roads and low-emission zones are a thing of the past.

Yet there are disadvantages too. Drivers of e-cars complain there are not enough charging stations. In Norway, particularly outside urban areas, there are fewer charging points per square kilometre than in Belgium, yet there are far more electric cars. That means that driving long distances is not easy and many drivers opt to use traditional cars when they head for the mountains, for example.

Quick charging stations

About half of Norwegians fear that policymakers will reduce the number of incentives in the near future. If that happens, there is a possibility that Norway will not achieve the goal of only e-cars being purchased by 2025. Therefore, to further boost this green evolution, the Norwegians are counting on the government to come up with an investment plan for charging stations, among other things. The Norwegian government has already pledged to install one quick charging station for every 100 e-cars. If there are 400,000 e-cars in the country by 2020, that means the country will need 4,000 quick charging stations. At present there are fewer than 1,000.

Moreover, not every Norwegian is willing to actually buy a car. More and more people, especially inhabitants of the capital, are giving up their personal cars and opting for car-sharing instead. The rise of e-driving and self-driving cars is undoubtedly set to give car sharing an even bigger boost in the future.

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