Connect to share and comment

Electric car sales smash records in Norway

PlacardEnlarge
(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Norway's electric car market boomed in March, with sales of the environmentally friendly vehicles accounting for a record one in five of all cars registered, a national traffic group said Wednesday.

US car maker Tesla set a new record for car sales, with its high-end Tesla S selling more models in one month (1,493 sales) than any car in Norway's history, according to the Information Council for Road Traffic (OFV).

At 10.8 percent of all new car registrations, Tesla sold more than twice as many cars as the next most popular choice -- petrol and diesel versions of the Volkswagen Golf (624 sales).

Several celebrities have queued up to purchase a Tesla, including Norway's Crown Prince Haakon and former prime minister and incoming Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

"I don't often entertain myself with car sale statistics, but this is one I will read as a bedtime story for children," said Frederic Hauge, head of the environmental group Bellona, who also owns one of the cars.

Electric cars cornered 20.3 percent of the country's auto market last month, partly due to the meteoric success of Tesla but also the rising popularity of the Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen e-Up.

Norway has introduced a raft of incentives for environmentally friendly cars, including exemptions from high car taxes, toll free driving, free public parking and use of public transport lanes.

Critics have argued that promoting clean cars is proving costly and that traffic lanes designed to keep busses moving are filling up with cars.

According to the auto website www.bilnorge.no, tax exemptions for Norwegians buying a new Tesla can be as high as $125,000 (91,000 euros) -- more than the price of the car which retails at about $103,000.

The Norwegian government has pledged to keep the incentives in place until the end of 2017 or until 50,000 electric cars have been sold.

And with 26,000 currently on the road, according to the national association of electric cars, they have passed the halfway mark.

phy/ts/cah/rl

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140402/electric-car-sales-smash-records-norway