In 2014, 16% of cars sold in Norway were electric. In 2015, that figure had jumped to 20%, and last month, rose to almost one third!
Why Are They So Popular?
Needless to say, electric cars are incredibly popular in Norway. And it's no wonder - no other country in Europe supports and promotes them like they do. If you were driving an electric car in Norway, you'd have paid less for it to begin with (thanks to lower sales taxes), you'd be able to recharge your car for free at public charging points, and you'd get free parking in the municipal car parks. Plus (!), EV drivers get a discount on their road tax too.
Norway is only the fourth country in the world to sell over 100,000 electric cars. And, with a population of just over 5 million, Norway has the highest concentration of EVs (aka electric vehicles) in the whole world!
A New Breed of Electric Cars
We're not just talking about tiny 'eco'-looking cars... Electric cars these days look pretty much the same as their fossil-fuel guzzling counterparts. And Tesla, the stylish sports car brand of the EV world, have a new model about to hit the streets. 'Model 3' is not only awesomely beautiful and tech-ed up to the nines, but also much more affordable than their previous models. Who knows what that'll do to EV sales!
Leading the Way...
The Norwegian parliament wants to take things even further, and are proposing to ban the sales of all petrol and diesel cars completely by 2025... that's in just 9 years time! When the announcement was made, people were pretty sceptical. But now, the main political parties are getting together on the idea, and a vote is expected in a matter of weeks! And, unlike you'd expect, members of the public are pretty keen on the idea too!
What Else Are Norway Doing?
Cool as they are, electric cars aren't the only part of Norway's carbon cutting ambitions. Last month, they became the first country in the world to ban deforestation. The government will no longer give contracts to, or buy stuff from, companies involved in chopping down the forests.
And that's not all! The Energy and Environment committee unanimously agreed to bring their carbon emissions targets forward by 20 years too! They had committed to going carbon neutral by 2050, but they've now set the target at 2030. Go them!
The change comes after the success of the UN Climate talks in Paris at the end of last year. Back in 2008, the government set the 2030 target, but pulled back after global climate change fighting plans went awry. The switch back to 2030 shows the new mood among global UN types - optimism, hope and humanity taking on climate change and averting the worst of it. And that's good news for the rest of us too!
The usual place to start with national carbon cutting is electricity. But with Norway already sourcing around 95% of their electricity from renewable hydro power, they'll have to be more innovative in where their carbon cuts come from.
And that is where the electric vehicles come in. Cars made up around 20% of carbon emissions in Norway last year, so more electric cars could make a real difference.
There are plenty more areas that still need work, especially considering a chunk of Norway's wealth comes from drilling for oil and gas... They'll need to come up with some clever ideas to get their emissions to that magic zero, but for now, Norway - we salute you!
This blog was written by our pals at 10:10 - check them out here.