Norway: A Case Study for EV Incentives

By: Zach Henkin, Program Director

(February 27, 2017) – This month I had the opportunity to attend and present at the Nordic EV Summit in Drammen, Norway. For an event focused on discussing the future of electric mobility, the choice of Norway as the host country was appropriate. There are few places in the world that are examples of how quickly the adoption of electric vehicles can be realized – and Norway is one of those places! This small Nordic country could easily have taken a different approach, relying on their North Sea oil production to fuel their cars, trucks, and trains. Instead, the country is leveraging their renewable hydroelectricity to power a multitude of clean transportation options. Inexpensive, emissions-free electricity paired with a mix of consumer incentives are encouraging thousands of Norwegians to drive electric.

The main auditorium at the Nordic EV Summit.

Norway is a case study for showing that incentives spur adoption. The country of Norway has some of the most substantial monetary and non-monetary incentives for electric vehicles in the world including a purchase incentive for electric vehicles, reductions in registration fees and taxes, a home charger incentive, privileged car and bus lane use, exclusive and free parking, and preferential toll charges. This commitment to electric vehicles has led Norway to be the first country to move past the early adopter market, with an incredible 37% of new cars sales being electric. The variety of incentives Norway offers can serve as a model for other cities and states as they design policies to increase the adoption of electric vehicles.

BMW i3 with Nordic EV Summit banner.

Interestingly, Norway and Oregon have some similarities. Both have populations of around 5 million and electrical grids powered primarily by hydroelectricity. Both have collaborative, supportive industry, government, and non-profit groups working to strengthen the plug-in electric vehicle market and robust public charging networks. Key cities in Norway and Oregon, including Oslo and Portland, respectively, are committed to promoting bicycling, walking, and public transit, while realizing that, if their residents must drive, they ought to be driving electric. Looking ahead, both regions are moving toward a future where their residents no longer see the vehicle as a product to buy, but will pay for transport as part of a mobility experience. The one key difference is that Oregon, unlike Norway, does not currently have a vehicle rebate incentive, but Drive Oregon is working hard to make that a reality this year.

One of my key takeaways from the event was that there are successful strategies in Norway and Europe that we can implement here to hit our goals. These include:

  • Co-location of DC fast charging formats (CCS, CHAdeMO, Tesla)
  • Siting of DC Fast charging in locations people want to be at
  • Installing charging in the right-of-way
  • Transitioning to faster fast-charging (150 kW+)
  • Bold commitments from cities, state, and other local government

Drive Oregon is advocating for and engaged in many of these strategies already, and the connections I made at the Nordic EV Summit will further boost our efforts.

Norway has taken a leadership role within the Nordics and Europe, showing that it is possible to transition a nation’s transportation sector away from fossil fuels. In Oregon, the transportation sector is one of the largest sources of our state’s greenhouse gas emissions. It will take bold leadership, like Norway’s, to move us to a cleaner future.  

For more photos of the event, click here. Photos & video credit: Teknisk Ukeblad Media.