With 9 out of 10 new cars sold in January being pure electric, EVs could overtake petrol cars by the end of 2024 in Norway, according to reports. This move positions the country as a forerunner in the global transition toward sustainable transportation, heavily supported by the Norway’s lucrative oil and gas revenues. However, overtaking diesel vehicles may take a bit longer.

With a population of 5.5 million, Norway aims to stop new sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2025. Remarkably, EVs constituted 90% of new car sales at the beginning of this year, signaling a potential earlier peak in global oil demand, possibly before 2030. The automotive sector is a significant consumer of oil, making this shift critical for environmental sustainability.

Financial Incentives Fuel EV Adoption

Norway’s commitment to electric vehicles involves substantial financial incentives. The government has exempted EVs from taxes imposed on traditional internal combustion engine vehicles and has invested heavily in establishing public EV charging infrastructure.

As of mid-March, EVs made up 24.3% of Norway’s total of 2.9 million cars, with petrol vehicles slightly ahead at 26.9%. The gap between EVs and petrol cars is rapidly closing, highlighted by last year’s sale of more than 104,590 EVs.

Robbie Andrew from CICERO suggests that EVs might surpass petrol cars within a year, given the dwindling sales of pure petrol cars. However, diesel vehicles still lead by about 370,000 units, indicating a longer journey for EVs to dominate.

“If that (trend) is continued for the next 12 months and given that sales of pure-petrol cars are negligible now, this time next year there will be more BEVs on the road than pure-petrol cars, and probably before the end of this year,” a senior researcher at climate change think-thank CICERO, Robbie Andrew, said.

Challenges and Adjustments Amidst Growth

Despite a slowdown in EV sales last year due to higher interest rates and reduced tax incentives, EVs dominated the new car sales market. At the start of this year, a record 92.1% of all new car sales were EVs, although this figure dropped to 89.3% by March amid a 49.7% decrease in overall new car sales compared to the previous year.

The Norwegian government has recently tweaked tax benefits, impacting luxury EVs priced above 500,000 Norwegian crowns ($46,700), such as the Tesla X and Audi e-tron. Nevertheless, Norway forewent 43 billion crowns in revenue in 2023 due to EV tax exemptions.

EVs to Overtake Petrol Cars by 2029

Experts anticipate a rebound in EV sales, with projections of over 76,000 new EVs sold this year. The goal is for EVs to overtake both petrol and diesel cars by 2029, assuming Norway meets its target of 100% zero-emission new car sales by 2025.

Petrol and diesel demand has fallen by 8% since 2021, despite hybrid vehicle sales partly compensating for this decline. Yet, as government incentives for hybrids diminish, the Norwegian EV Association expects EVs to account for 95% of all new car sales this year, marking a significant milestone in Norway’s journey towards sustainable mobility.