What the United States can learn from Norway regarding electric vehicle adoption

Norway has the highest adoption rate of electric vehicles in the world. According to the Norwegian Road Federation (OFV), around 82% of new car sales in Norway in 2023 were electric vehicles. By comparison, 7.6% of new car sales in the United States last year were electric, according to Kelley Blue Book estimates. In the world’s largest auto market, China, 24% of new car sales in 2023 were electric vehicles, according to the China Passenger Car Association.

“Our goal is for all new cars by 2025 to be zero-emission vehicles,” said Ragnhild Syrstad, state secretary of the Norwegian Ministry for Climate and Environment, “we think we will achieve this goal.”

The Norwegian government began encouraging the purchase of electric vehicles as early as the 1990s with free parking, use of bus lanes, no tolls and, most importantly, no tax on zero-emission vehicles. But it wasn’t until Tesla and other electric vehicle models became available about 10 years ago as sales started to take off, Syrstad said.

Norway’s capital, Oslo, is also electrifying its ferries, buses, semi-trailers and even construction machinery. Gas pumps and parking meters are being replaced by battery chargers. It’s an electric utopia of the future. So far, Norway’s grid has been able to handle the influx of electric vehicles thanks to its abundance of hydropower.

“Electric cars cost maybe a third of petrol because we have almost 100% hydropower. It’s cheap. It’s available and renewable. So that’s a big advantage,” said Petter Haugneland, deputy secretary general of the Norwegian Association for electric vehicles.

CNBC flew around the world to meet with experts, government officials and locals to find out how the Scandinavian country managed to achieve such a high rate of electric vehicle adoption.

Watch the documentary for the full story.

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