Electric Car sales off the charts in Norway

Nissan Leaf Electric Car SalesThe Nissan LEAF: the world's best-selling zero-emissions electric vehicle now most advanced and accessible on the planet. Photo: Nissan

EV sales rocketed in 2018 – nearly ⅓ are zero emission

Nearly every third new passenger car sold in 2018 was zero emission. The development is almost frighteningly fast, the Director of OFV, Øyvind Solberg Thorsen, announces.


Sales of Electric cars increased by almost 40 per cent last year, and the most popular car model in Norway is, for the first time in ten years, not Volkswagen Golf. Instead, the electric car Nissan Leaf sold like hotcakes by the car dealers. This appears from fresh figures from the Norwegian Traffic Information Agency (OFV).

In total, zero emission cars and rechargeable hybrid cars accounted for 49.1 per cent of new car sales last year. If imported used cars are included, the share ends up at almost 52 per cent.

“Generally speaking, we see that the producers who can supply electric cars are the winners in the statistics. 2018 was the year when passenger cars, which run on alternative fuels, consolidated their strong position in the market, the Director of OFV,” Solberg Thorsen, ascertains.


The sharp increase in electric car sales is not unequivocally positive. A potential problem in the future may be that manufacturers simply cannot produce enough cars to meet the demand.

“The development may be frighteningly fast. We need access to these cars, they are to be imported and manufactured. Some Peace Prize winners also question whether it is a beneficial development, in terms of production,” Solberg Thorsen continues.

The forecast for 2019 is that almost half of the cars that will be sold in Norway will be electric cars, used car sales excluded. At the same time, 40,000 are already on waiting lists, and there may soon be more when additional waiting lists are made available.

Another uncertainty is related to developments in other countries. Currently, Norway is far at the forefront of electric cars worldwide. If other countries follow suit, there will be even more hungry mouths to feed.

“The question is whether the industry can deliver around 70,000 electric cars this year. It is planned to sell cars that still do not exist, and the consumers are having an unclear year in store,” Senior Communications Advisor in NAF, Nils Sødal, chips in.

Test method leads to grey hair

While electric cars and rechargeable hybrid cars were sales winners in 2018, diesel cars and models that did not meet the emission requirements of the improved WLTP method were among the losers.

The test method was introduced in September last year and shows higher emission figures than the preceding NEDC method. This is partly responsible for the fact that it was a decrease in first-time registrations to 147,929 in Norway last year, 6.8 per cent less than in 2017.

“We forecast a decline, but due to the delivery situation for electric cars and the change in measurement method for consumption, in particular, the downward trend has been somewhat stronger than expected,” Solberg Thorsen explains.

Despite the decline, 2018 was the year with the sixth largest sales of mint-fresh cars in Norwegian history.

Predicts a further decline

This year, OFV predicts that a total of 146,300 passenger cars, fresh from the factories, will be sold, ie even fewer than last year. The Car Importers Association (BIL), in their turn, predicts that car sales will rise to approx. 150,000.

Like the OFV, they predict that the electric car share will continue to increase, while the petrol and diesel car share will drop by about 15 percentage points compared to 2018. Despite the anticipated decline, this remains a high proportion and a long way away from the Government’s goal that all cars will be zero-emission – which today are made up of mainly hydrogen and electric cars – by 2025.

“The range of petrol and diesel cars is much larger than for rechargeable cars. That is why they are still a natural choice for many customers,” the CEO of BIL, Erik Andresen, asserts.

Volkswagen tops

Although the trusty old VW Golf was bypassed after ten years on top of the sales statistics, Volkswagen is still by far the largest car brand in Norway. 13.6 per cent of all cars sold last year were branded by the German car manufacturer.

Toyota came into second with a share of 9.9 per cent, while Nissan followed hot on their heels with 9.6 per cent (14,216) sold.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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