Norway leads the world in EV adoption, records 80 percent EV sales in 2022

Will its record run continue in 2023 though?
Ameya Paleja
An electric vehicle charging with Norway flag
An electric vehicle charging with Norway flag


Norway is showing the world how it can adopt cleaner means of transportation. As the year came to a close, the country hit a new record of electric vehicle (EV) sales, as four in every five vehicles sold was an electric one, Electrek reported.

This is a sharp rise in adoption from just a decade ago, when EVs had a modest share of under three percent in all vehicular sales. As the world looks to shift to electric modes of transportation, many countries are looking to phase out internal combustion engine-based vehicles in the coming decade.

Norway, however, took an aggressive approach and set a goal to phase them out as early as 2025. The government supported this decision with EV-friendly policies, and now the country looks set to achieve its goals of selling only battery electric vehicles (BEV) in 0225.

Norwegians pick Tesla over other EVs

According to the data shared by the Norwegian Road Federation, Norwegians preferred Tesla cars over other EV options available to them. The Tesla Model Y was the most popular car of 2022 recording sales of 17,356 units, accounting for 12.2 percent of the overall market share. Volkswagen's ID.4 was second preferred, with 11,561 vehicles sold, and it took 11.6 percent market share.

While these might seem like small numbers, Norway is a small country with a population of just 5.5 million and makes for a great testing ground for electric automakers. Popular automotive brands like BMW. Hyundai, Volvo, Audi, Ford, and Polestar have made their EVs available in this market.

The meteoric rise of EV adoption was fueled by the incentives laid out by the Norwegian government which included exemption from taxes, tolls, and parking charges as well as the rollout of an extensive charging network from the north to the south in the country, a model many countries, including the U.S. are expected to follow.

Will the momentum continue though?

Following the government's lead, car makers such as Hyundai and Volkswagen have announced the end of internal-combustion-powered vehicles in the country. However, the complete story is yet to unfold as government incentives for EVs have now reached the end of the road.

Instead, BEVs will soon find themselves on the same level playing field as gas-powered vehicles as Norway introduces a new weight-based tax for automobiles. Tax exemptions of 2022 cost the treasury 39.4 billion Norwegian crowns (US$4.0 billion), and newer laws are looking to tax high-end luxury vehicles that are escaping the tax net on account of being electric, Reuters said in its report.

Since BEVs are heavier than their gas-powered counterparts, the new taxation system could have a negative impact on EV adoption, experts warn. The charging infrastructure in the country is quite fractured and needs an EV owner to have anywhere between 10-15 apps to be able to use it in its entirety.

Becoming an EV owner in Norway comes with its own problems in 2023 and it will be interesting to see how these are addressed by EV makers and authorities alike. The real test of EVs starts now.

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