The anomaly that is tiny Norway saw alternative car records again last month, this time with close to half of all sales being some form of electrified – from hybrid, to plug-in hybrid, to all-electric.
Of these, plug-in electrified vehicles (PEVs) accounted for 32.9 percent of all new car sales, exceeding hybrids’ 14.9 percent.
September’s nearly one-third of PEV sales was not the all-time record however, that was in March 2016 when 33.5 percent PEVs were sold.
Compare that to the U.S. which now has 0.83 percent share from January through September, and which recorded its all-time best of 1.12 percent in September.
Yes, Norway, population approximately 5.1 million, is an outlier moving with greater solidarity of policy and cultural and political will than larger, more divided, governments, and continues its push away from petroleum.
Until this year, battery electric vehicles were by far the preferred plug-in vehicle type, but growth for BEVs leveled off, and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) have nearly tripled their market share this year.
But all forms of battery reliant vehicles have seen growth compared to September 2015.
Specifically, battery electrics comprised 19.0 percent of September’s total market share – up from 17.1 percent in September 2015. Plug-in hybrids were at 13.0 percent, up from just 4.2 percent a year prior.
Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) accounted for 14.9 percent, up from 12.6 percent September 2015.
The goal of all of this is of course to cut emissions, and because plug-in hybrids have jumped nearly three-fold, some within the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association have raised concerns.
Objections center around short-range plug-in hybrids which ultimately stand to burn plenty of gas, or similarly, luxury models whose battery has the main purpose of increasing power and capturing incentives – while still burning plenty of gas.
Rules are proposed to potentially close these loopholes next year.
At the Expense of ICE
Internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle share meanwhile dropped from the total 13,854 sales in September, as math would dictate.
To put a finer point on that, diesel vehicles were at 26.4 percent in September 2016 – down from 39.2 percent in September 2015, the month VW’s dieselgate scandal news broke.
Gasoline powered vehicle sales similarly were at 25.8 percent, a decline from 31.0 percent a year before.
Little Big Country
Petroleum-rich Norway is Europe’s largest plug-in electrified vehicle market, and the fourth largest in the world with about 121,330 cumulative plug-ins since 2004, and as such it was also the fourth country in the world to crest past 100,000 PEV sales.
The U.S. and China have both more than 500,000 PEV sales to date, but as you may note, they are slightly larger. Other countries in the 100k club include France which just did it last week, and Japan, with about 145,000.
Of Norway’s cumulative total registrations, 92,813 are all-electric cars – of which, 14,203 are used imports from neighboring countries. Plug-in hybrids comprise 26,225, of which, used imports only making up 27. All-electric vans total to 2,292, with 153 being used imports.
We do not have all September numbers in for a complete breakdown, but can report the best seller was a Tesla.
And no, it was not the Model S. While the Model X is still playing second fiddle to the Model S in the U.S., in Norway, the X variety tripled the S sales, numbering to 601 in September, compared to 247 S models.
So, with 601 units, the Model X was not only the top selling EV, but actually the top selling new car model in Norway in September 2016.
This was a feat that only the Model S and the Nissan Leaf had accomplished before, the former, four times, the latter, twice.
And on a related note, Norway was the first country in the world to have all-electric cars topping the new car sales monthly ranking.
The number one nameplate however was the VW Golf, with 996 units. The all-electric e-Golf sold 392 units, exceeding 358 Golf GTE plug-in hybrids – and 246 internal combustion Golfs!
Yes, more EV and PHEV versions than conventional were reported.
But speaking of all-time best sellers, that’s still the Nissan Leaf which has sold 18,591 through September. If one counts the imports, more the 25,000 Leafs are on the road in Norway.
Models rounding out this year’s top-10 also show how plug-in hybrids are gaining ground. These are the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, VW e-Golf, Nissan Leaf, VW Golf GTE, VW Passat GTE, BMW i3, Tesla Model S, Audi A3 e-tron, Renault Zoe and Mercedes B 250e.
This said, electric cars still hold an edge, and that’s important for Tesla Motors, which has sold for the first nine months of this year 2,500 S and X models into the country.
The nation with just 65 percent the population of New York City also accounted for 10 percent of Model S global sales through December 2015, and Norway is the largest overseas market for the Model S.
Thanks to Mario R. Duran for help with data.