Norwegian EV policy

Norway is leading the way for a transition to zero emission in transport.

This is first and foremost due to a substantial package of incentives developed to promote zero emission vehicles into the market. Since the early 1990’s incentives have been gradually introduced by different governments and broad coalitions of parties to speed up the transition. The Norwegian Parliament have decided on a national goal that all new cars sold by 2025 should be zero emission (electric or hydrogen). By the end of 2018 there are 200.000 registered battery electric cars (BEVs) in Norway. Battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles together hold a 50 % market share. The speed of the transition is closely related to policy instruments and a wide range of incentives.

The zero emissions incentives include:

  • No purchase/import taxes (1990-)
  • Exemption from 25% VAT on purchase (2001-)
  • No annual road tax (1996-)
  • No charges on toll roads or ferries (1997- 2017).
  • Charges were introduced on ferries with upper limit of maximum 50% of full price (2018-)
  • Charges on toll roads were introduced with upper limit of maximum 50% of full price (2019)
  • Free municipal parking (1999- 2017)
  • Parking fee for EVs was introduced locally with an upper limit of maximum 50% of full price (2018-)
  • Access to bus lanes (2005-).
  • New rules allow local authorities to limit the access to only include EVs that carry one or more passengers (2016)
  • 50 % reduced company car tax (2000-2018).
  • Company car tax reduction was lowered to 40% (2018-)
  • Exemption from 25% VAT on leasing (2015)
  • Fiscal compensation for scrapping of fossil vans when converting to a zero emission van (2018)
  • Allowing holders of driver licence class B to drive electric vans class C1 (light lorrries) up to 2450 kg (2019)

The current Government has decided to keep the incentives for zero emission cars until the end of 2021. The VAT exemption for zero emission cars in Norway has been approved by EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) until the end of 2020. After 2021 the incentives will be revised and adjusted parallel with the market development.

The 50% rule

Since 2017 it has been up to the local governments to decide the incentives regarding access to bus lanes and free municipal parking. The Parliament has decided on implementing a 50 % rule, which means that counties and municipalities can not charge more than 50 % of the price for fossil fuel cars on ferries, public parking and toll roads. The 50 % rule is in function on county ferries, state ferries and will be introduced in toll roads during 2019. A rule of maximum 50 % parking fee at public parking for zero emission cars is expected to be implemented by many municipalities from 2019.

Charging infrastructure

For longer distance trips, a well-organized charging network has to be in place. Today we have more than 10.000 publicly available charging points and more than 1500 cars can fast-charge at the same time. Even if EV owners are charging at home and manage without fast charging on a daily basis, they think it is important to have the option to fast charge when needed.

Consumers are willing to pay a higher price for the service of fast charging. On average three times more than they pay for electricity at home.

By 2017 the Norwegian Government  launched a program to finance the establishment of at least two multi standard fast charging stations every 50 km on all main roads in Norway. Fast charging stations have been successfully established on all main roads with the exceptions of Finnmark and Lofoten.

The norwegian car tax system

The overall signal from the majority of political parties is that it should always be economically beneficial to choose zero and low emission cars over high emission cars. This is obtained with «the polluter pays principle» in the car tax system. High taxes for high emission cars and lower taxes for low and zero emission cars. Introducing taxes on polluting cars can finance incentives for zero emission cars without any loss in revenues.

The Norwegian Parliament have decided on a goal that all new cars sold by 2025 should be zero (battery electric or hydrogen) emission vehicles. This is a very ambitious, but feasible goal with the right policy measures. The Parliament will reach this goal with a strengthened green tax system, not a ban.

The purchase tax for all new cars is calculated by a combination of weight, CO2 and NOx emissions. The tax is progressive, making big cars with high emissions very expensive. For the last years the purchase tax has been adjusted gradually to have more emphasis on emissions and less on weight.
The following example compare an EV model with a similar petrol model to
illustrate how the Norwegian tax system makes EVs competitive in the market.

The progressive tax system makes most EV models cheaper to buy compared to a similar petrol
model, even if the import price for EVs are much higher. This is the main reason why the Norwegian EV
market is so successful compared to any other country.

Norwegian EV policy history