Norway’s EV incentives get ESA green light

With urban pollution too high, current EV concessions can remain in place until 2017

Photo: Norsk Elbilforening / Wikimedia Commons The Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association (Norsk Elbilforening) celebrated the milestone of 50,000 all-electric vehicles registered in Norway on April 20, 2015. The electric car, a Tesla Model S, received license plate “EL 60000” to number 50,000. All EVs have special plates beginning with EL, with a sequence that began with “EL 10000.”

Photo: Norsk Elbilforening / Wikimedia Commons
The Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association (Norsk Elbilforening) celebrated the milestone of 50,000 all-electric vehicles registered in Norway on April 20, 2015. The electric car, a Tesla Model S, received license plate “EL 60000” to number 50,000. All EVs have special plates beginning with EL, with a sequence that began with “EL 10000.”

Michael Sandelson
The Foreigner

50,000 electric vehicles are now on the road in Norway.

Motorists in Norway benefit from perks including zero VAT, free parking, and road toll exemptions. The Rightist coalition is due to consider the issue of continuing these and other policies. This is because the vehicle threshold, rather than the cut-off date of 2017, is now reached.

ESA concludes, April 21, that Norway’s policies are in line with state aid guidelines set forth in the EEA Agreement.

In a statement, ESA President Oda Sletnes says that, “The Norwegian fleet of electric cars is the largest per capita in the world. In 2014, 12.5% of new registrations in Norway were electric cars, compared to only 0.3% in the EU.

“This clearly shows how the measures put in place by the Norwegian authorities strengthen the demand for zero-emissions cars and thus contribute to a greener transport sector. This is essential to achieve the climate targets and to improve the poor air quality observed in many cities.”

Norway is also due to appear in the EFTA Court in Luxembourg for breaches of the EU’s Ambient Air Quality Directive. It has been found that values for Nitrogen Dioxide, particulate matter, and Sulphur Dioxide are higher than permitted.

ESA brought an action against the Scandinavian country on February 16 this year. The authority’s Oda Sletnes has stated that they are “still not satisfied with progress” on measures Norway has put in place to help combat emissions levels.

Erik Aasheim, communications advisor at the Ministry of Climate and Environment, informed The Foreigner of their position: “The emissions of pollutants in Norway have decreased steadily the last decades, and significant steps to address the issue of air pollution, in particular from traffic, have been taken. Still, there are exceedances of the limit values in relation to certain components in certain areas, especially in relation to NO2. Action is now being taken in order to further improve local air quality in Norway,” he writes in his email.

Aasheim also says that Norway’s Environment Agency (Miljødirektoratet) is given a supervisory role in certain respects, mainly reporting data to the authority. The municipalities are tasked with carrying out air quality plans.

“The agency has taken a more active role in relation to giving guidance and ensuring that the work with the air quality plans is in accordance with the obligations in the [Ambient Air Quality] Directive,” he states.

“In addition, the government has assessed the need for measures in order to comply with the limit values in the directive, and has now initiated a process in order to enable the municipalities to establish low-emission zones.”

Norwegian authorities have until April 27, 2015, to submit Norway’s defense in the matter. A judgment against Norway would mean authorities have to comply with the Directive.

This article was originally published on The Foreigner. To subscribe to The Foreigner, visit theforeigner.no.

It also appeared in the May 1, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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