Credit: Tesla

Why is Norway the World EV Leader? by C. Afonso

Norway has been the world leader in shifting away from traditional cars, thanks to government benefits that like letting electric car owners skip some fees for parking and toll roads. The goal is to become the first nation to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2025.

The domestic market grew up from 2012 to 2017 hitting five all-time records in a row, before a small decline in 2018 at 149,991 and in 2019 at 142,381. With a population of 5.4 million, Norway has the world’s highest proportion of electric vehicles.

With 141,405 units sold, Norway was the best performing market in Europe during 2020 with the sales only declining 0.7% compared to 2019 numbers. In 2021, overall new sales rose by 25% up to +170,000 cars where almost two thirds of them were fully electric.

We all know Norway is the most charged country on the planet — in September 2021, electric vehicles accounted for 78% of the total auto market. Adding hybrids and plug-in hybrids brought the total share for electrified vehicles to 92%. The most popular models were Tesla’s Model Y and Model 3, which accounted for 40 percent of total sales. 

In 2020, the year where the Covid-19 Pandemic started, the sale of electric cars in Norway overtook those powered by petrol, diesel and hybrid engines. German auto-maker Volkswagen was replaced Tesla as the top battery-vehicle producer. According to Norwegian Road Federation (OFV), in 2019, 42.4% of the vehicles sold in the Scandinavian country were BEV (Battery Electric Vehicles). The year after, it raised up to 54.3%.

According to The Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association (NEVA), in 2021, the country set a new record for electric vehicle (EV) sales in 2021, with 64.5% of all new cars sold fully electric.

“EV sales skyrocketed in Norway, where ground-breaking records have become a frequent occurrence”. 

The Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association (NEVA)

From March 2021 to the end of the year, the average percentage of Electric Vehicles sold in the Norwegian Market was 67.3% (total of 65% in 2021) which means more than 2 out of 3 vehicles sold in Norway was an EV. Compared to the same period in 2020, it increased 27.22% and represented 52.9% of the entire market that year.

Norway has closed 2021 with an impressive monthly record: during December 2021,  90.0% of the vehicles sold were rechargeable. The advantage is clear with only 10% for the other types of vehicles sold. Overall they were sold 20,567 units during the last month of 2021.

The Tesla Model 3 was the best selling model of 2021 in Norway with 1,968 registrations – the EV company was the most popular one last year, with a total of 20,397 units and a market share of 11.6%.

After 11 consecutive years leading, Volkswagen lost in 2021 its number one market position in Norway to US EV manufacturer Tesla.

Oil-producing Norway exempts battery electric vehicles from taxes imposed on internal combustion engines which help drive the proportion of overall electric sales as high as 80% in 2022. Obviously the subsidies for electric cars aren’t enough on their own to reach this percentage of overall auto-market, although they help create momentum in the population.

The country is seen as a key market for electric vehicle players, such as Polestar and NIO. In late 2020, Polestar 2 Model received Norway’s Car of the Year award. Held by Norwegian publication Dagbladet in conjunction with the above award, the jury consists of journalists and EV association members.

“70% already have an EV and of course, going more into the north of Norway, the infrastructure and the charging possibilities are not as good as in Oslo, but we are getting there.”


NIO opened its first NIO House in Olso and entered the Norwegian Market in September 2021 selling 216 vehicles so far.

More and more EVs and charging stations (also Battery Swap Stations in case of NIO that also include this programme beside the Charging Station) have been seen during these last years. Head of NIO Norway recently said: