Picture the kind of car you’d take into the Arctic Circle. You’re probably visualizing a hulking great gas-gulper which looks ready to tow a polar bear.
People living in the arctic are surely above (if you’ll pardon the pun) the kind of scruples that make electric cars (EVs) so popular around your closest big city.
However, you’d be wrong. Norway’s Tromso, dubbed the “Gateway to the Arctic”, spends two months each year without sunlight, but it has just become home to Tesla’s most northerly showroom.
In fact, the whole country is loving the EV; they’re the world leader per capita and are the fourth country in the world to home 100,000. Topping the list is the USA (with a population of 320), followed by Japan (pop. 130 million) and China (pop. 1.35 billion), so it’s quite an achievement for a country with as few as five million to come up next.
So, why are these people so enamoured with the EV? Environmental concerns are a big part of the picture, especially since anyone in the Arctic Circle lives in close proximity to the wonders of nature. Those benefits have been backed up by the following outstanding incentives:
- No purchase taxes
- Exemption from 25% VAT on purchase
- Low annual road tax
- No charges on toll roads or ferries
- Free municipal parking
- Access to bus lanes
- 50% reduction in company car tax
- No VAT on leasing
There’s also an aggressive tax policy towards high-polluting cars, and some politicians are calling for a ban on new petrol and diesel models by 2025. Incentives have helped defeat one of the most pervasive problems with EVs: their price. After a good few years of driving, the vehicle could pay for itself.
Then there’s the second problem: range. After all, it’s easy to be worried about running out of juice. Luckily, Norway have been working to combat this problem too. The country has invested plenty of money into public charging stations that can top up your EV’s battery extremely quickly. According to the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association, it would consume only 5-6% of Norway’s annual hydro-electric production if all three million cars currently used in their country were powered electrically.
As Norway shows that EVs can be made just as affordable for consumers than traditional vehicles, the world seems to be waking up, with Germany announcing their own €1bn (£784m) incentive scheme in the hope of achieving similar results. We’ll have to wait and see.