Norway is Tesla’s top per capita market

With so many Teslas on Norwegian roads, more electic charging stations are needed

Tesla's biggest market

Photo: Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association / Wikimedia Commons
Five Tesla Model S electric cars in Geiranger, August 2015. Norway is Tesla’s biggest market per capita.

Rasmus Falck
Oslo, Norway

Norway is Tesla’s biggest market per capita. Ten percent of the world’s electric cars are sold in Norway. The fleet trails only the USA, China, and Japan. A Tesla Model X is the country’s fourth best-selling car. According to Tesla, Norway is the country where luxury Tesla has become the budget option. Tesla became the most popular carmaker overall in Norway at the end of 2017. But it has become a victim of its own popularity. Service stations are lacking.

Norway is the world’s largest per-capita market for electric vehicles. Half of all new cars sold to Norwegians are either fully electric or hybrid. Generous incentives are offered to buy electric. In Oslo, there are toll-free roads, bus lane access, free parking, and free charging. The country offers no taxes or fees on electric cars. The per-gallon price of gas in Norway is at least double what it is in the United States.

The Norwegian market is the first market where plug-in vehicles are truly mainstream. The incentives started to evolve 30 years ago to foster incumbent local companies. Those went out of business. Today, the main driver is climate and environment.

According to the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association, it is the tax break that makes electric car prices competitive at the time of buying the car. The car tax system is based on the polluter-pays principle. The purchase tax for all new cars is calculated by a combination of weight and CO2 (carbon dioxide) and NOX (oxides of nitrogen) emissions. The tax is progressive, making big cars with high emissions very expensive.

The retail price for the Tesla S is NOK 634,400, and for the comparable Audi A7, NOK 697,300. For the Audi, the import price is NOK 319,464, CO2 tax NOK 125,253, NOX tax NOK 1,525, and weight tax NOK 109,198. For both cars, a scraping fee of NOK 2,400 is included. Most electric models are cheaper to a similar gasoline model, even if the import price for electric is much higher. This is the main reason why the Norwegian market for electric cars is so successful compared with other countries.

I have earlier written about the founder Elon Musk and his CTO from Madison, Wis., who was given a scrapped golf buggy as a young boy that started his interest in electrical vehicles. Now, Musk wants to improve the service in Norway. Some time ago, he tweeted, “Norwegians are right to be upset with Tesla. We are having trouble expanding our service facilities in Oslo especially. Can solve quickly with Tesla mobile service vans but awaiting government permission to do so.”

In 2020, Norway risked losing VAT. In the new Four Party Government platform, the exemption will stay at least until the next election. Year 2020 is going to be exciting with a range of new models on the market.

Rasmus Falck is a strong innovation and entrepreneurship advocate. The author of “What do the best do better” and “The board of directors as a resource in SME,” he received his master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently lives in Oslo, Norway.

This article originally appeared in the March 22, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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