The future is here in Norway, where plug-in vehicles made up around 90% of total auto sales in August. However, the commercial segment of the market has fallen behind the times. Almost all individual drivers buy EVs, but a lot of fossil vehicles are still being sold to companies—particularly car rental agencies.
From January to July this year, 12,646 new fossil fuel cars were sold in Norway, and 4,000 of these went to rental agencies, according to estimates from NHO Mobility.
Christina Bu, General Secretary of the Norsk Elbilforening (Norwegian EV Association) points out that this could make it hard for Norway to reach the climate targets it has set for 2025. It’s also bad publicity for the country for foreign tourists to be offered a fossil car as a rental, when everyone around them is driving modern EVs.
There may be several reasons why Avis, Hertz, Europcar and other multinational firms find it economically advantageous to buy petrol, diesel and hybrid cars. For one, EV purchases are exempt from value-added tax (VAT) in Norway, but renting an EV is subject to the full amount of VAT.
Also, companies that electrify their car fleets must invest money to install sufficient charging facilities at delivery points. Failure to do so can result in bad customer service. Bu tells us of a German couple who rented an EV at the airport in Oslo, and found that the battery was almost empty.
Whatever the reasons that rental companies aren’t with the program, the authorities need to make a plan to resolve the problem, says Bu. “We must ensure that the rental cars are also emission-free. The government must come up with a solution that makes electric cars competitive when the rental companies buy cars.”
The Norwegian EV Association says that the country is not on track to reach its 2025 target of making all new car sales emission-free. Halfway through 2023, 83 percent of new car sales are battery EVs, but that proportion needs to reach 90 percent by the end of the year in order to reach the 2025 target.
“Private individuals who decide on a new car, fortunately mostly choose an electric car,” says Ms. Bu. “It’s stupid that the cars that are bought by companies slow down electrification.”
Source: Norwegian EV Association