The electric vehicle boom in Norway has been going on for several decades and shows the power of a good incentive program to effect radical change. The country is one of many European countries to have benefited from a national oil boom in the 20th century. Oil from the North Sea has brought wealth to several countries, each of which has used their newly discovered wealth in very different ways, with radically different results. The UK, for example, used cash to fund tax cuts for the wealthy until the late 1980s and early 1990s.
By comparison, in 1990, Norway began pushing profits from its oil reserves into a new sovereign wealth fund. This fund was used to invest in a number of industries, and is now worth over $ 1 trillion. Norway has used its huge bank balance to fund its national transition to electric vehicles with very generous subsidies, including no purchase or import taxes, no road taxes, and free or heavily reduced charges for toll roads. , parking, ferries and company car tax. EV drivers also have the right to use dedicated bus lanes and receive subsidies for the scrapping of older fossil fuel vehicles.
For every carrot there is also a stick, and Norway has increased the tax burden on gasoline cars to encourage purchases of electric vehicles. In an example, EV Norway explains that a standard VW Golf is taxed at € 12,000 ($ 14,700) to make the e-Golf cheaper in a side-by-side comparison. Norway has used some of this money to fund infrastructure investments, including building a fast-charging station every 30 miles or so on the country’s main roads. All of this means that it expects, by 2025, to be able to completely end sales of fossil fuel cars.