While the US electric car market continues to grab the headlines, it is worth remembering that Norway is by far and away the leading electric car loving country and has the highest ratio of electric vehicles per capita. Indeed, many in the industry refers to Oslo as the capital of the electric vehicle industry and if you take a look at the situation you will see there are a number of reasons why electric vehicles are so popular in the country.
In many ways it seems that a number of factors have come together to create the perfect storm for electric vehicles in some parts of Scandinavia. If we take a look at Norway there are many reasons to be cheerful if you are an electric vehicle retailer.
High gasoline prices
A gallon of gasoline in Norway costs in excess of $10, despite the fact the country is awash with oil and gas from its surrounding oilfields. Fuel is not subsidised at the pumps as the government uses the massive oil and gas income to extend and improve the country's infrastructure. This is perhaps one of the main drivers as to why the number of electric vehicles across Norway continues to grow, and seems likely to for some time to come.
Growing EV charging infrastructure
While in some ways it is a little unfair to compare a country the size of Norway with the USA, which is by far and away the largest electric vehicle market in the world, it is worth noting that the Norwegian authorities and the business arena have been very busy extending the electric vehicle charging network. There continue to be some concerns with regard to the range of electric vehicles before recharging is required but as the charging network continues to expand these fears will fade.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "The average driver covers around 70 miles a day through the week which is less than the full charge available on a Nissan Leaf 2013 - about 129 miles on a full charge. How many miles do you drive each day?"
Traffic toll exemption
Even though many countries around the world have yet to bring in significant traffic toll systems, this is not the case in Norway - although the authorities have exempted electric vehicles from such charges. When you take into account the cost of gasoline, in excess of $10 per gallon in some areas, as well as the saving on traffic tolls it is not difficult to see why more and more Norwegians are "doing their bit for the environment".
In many ways it is the Norwegian government which has fired the gun for the electric vehicle market and other governments around the world could learn some very valuable lessons.
A number of governments have introduced free parking measures for electric vehicle owners and indeed in some areas of the world hybrids are included in this particular group. It is sometimes easy to forget the ever-growing cost of parking in some of the larger cities around the globe and with the worldwide economy only now getting back on its feet, every dollar does count for the consumer.
Aside from free parking, did you know that electric vehicles in Norway are able to drive in bus lanes and there are very few restrictions in where they can and cannot go? If we take these issues in isolation they seem relatively small but their cumulative impact has led to a massive increase in the Norwegian electric vehicle market which is set to continue well into the future.