Norway celebrated the delivery of its 50,000th EV last week, as an EU agency ruled that the country’s generous economic incentives are in compliance with European competition rules.
Norway’s many measures to promote elbiler, which include exemptions from taxes and tolls, free parking and charging, and access to priority lanes, had been under review by the European Free Trade Association’s Surveillance Authority (ESA).
“The incentives have been a great success and yield major environmental gains in the form of better air quality and lower carbon emissions,” ESA President Oda Helen Sletnes told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).
The Norwegian EV Association (Norsk Elbilforening) celebrated the decision. “We’ve been waiting a long time for this and are very glad [the ESA] concluded as they did,” said Secretary General Christina Bu. “Our role as a beacon in the international EV market is maybe the most important climate measure Norway is making in the longer term.”
So far this year, nearly a quarter of Norway’s total auto sales have been plug-ins. Now that the 50,000 mark has been passed, the government will reevaluate the incentives. Not everyone believes they should continue. Public transport agencies complain that EVs are clogging bus lanes, and others question why people able to afford a Model S should receive such hefty tax breaks.
“Politicians need to sit tight and let incentives last until the EV is competitive regarding range and price,” said Bu. “The development so far has been much faster than we could imagine, and we think EVs will be competitive in only a few years.”