Electric and hybrid vehicles accounted for more than half of new car registrations in Norway last year, extending the Scandinavian nation’s lead in a shift out of fossil-fuel engines.
According to data released on Wednesday, pure electric cars and hybrids made up 52 percent of all new car sales in Norway in 2017, compared with 40 percent in the previous year, Reuters reports.
The increased share of electric vehicles came thanks to generous government incentives as authorities seek to cut emissions.
“No one else is close” in terms of a national share of electric cars, said Oeyvind Solberg Thorsen, chief of the Norwegian Road Federation (OFV), which released the data.
“For the first time we have a fossil-fuel market share below 50 percent.”
Norway exempts new electric cars from almost all taxes and grants perks that can be worth thousands of dollars a year in terms of free or subsidized parking, re-charging and use of toll roads, ferries and tunnels, Reuters noted.
Last year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Norway was far ahead of other nations such as the Netherlands, Sweden, China, France and Britain in electric car sales.
By the IEA yardstick, which excludes hybrid cars with only a small electric motor that cannot be plugged in, electric car sales in Norway rose to 39 percent in 2017 from 29 in 2016, when the Netherlands was in second on 6.4 percent.
Norwegian car sales in 2017 were topped by the Volkswagen Golf, BMWi3, Toyota Rav4 and Tesla Model X. The Tesla is pure electric and others have electric or hybrid versions.
“We view Norway as a role model for how electric mobility can be promoted through smart incentives,” a BMW spokesman in Munich told Reuters.
“The situation would probably be different if these incentives were dropped.”
Last year, Norway’s parliament set a non-binding goal that by 2025 all cars sold should be zero emissions.
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