OSLO: Electric or hybrid vehicles accounted for more than half of all new cars sold in Norway last year, official data showed on Wednesday, confirming the country’s pioneering role in carbon-free transport, reports AFP.
Zero-emission, mainly all-electric as well as a few hydrogen-powered cars, accounted for 20.9 percent of total sales in 2017, while hybrid vehicles accounted for 31.3 percent, including 18.4 percent for plug-in hybrids, the Norwegian Road Federation (OFV) calculated.
This represents an increase over the previous year, when zero-emission and hybrid cars accounted for 15.7 percent and 24.5 percent respectively of total sales, making Norway a world leader in electrifying road transport.
Norway, the biggest producer of oil in western Europe, has set itself the ambitious goal of selling only new zero-emission cars starting from 2025.
Unlike diesel or gasoline cars, which are heavily taxed, electric cars benefit from a very generous tax system, making their purchase prices relatively competitive.
Their owners also enjoy many privileges such as free city tolls, ferries, parking and recharging in public car parks, as well as having the right to drive in bus lanes.
Authorities plan to gradually reduce some measures whose benefits and costs are disputed by critics.
The Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association welcomed the new statistics while calling for a continued state incentive..