Scandinavia turns out to be an area of success for Nissan’s electric vehicle, the Leaf.
No country has sold more Nissan Leaf per capita than Norway, with Nissan’s EV taking 1.7 percent of all vehicle sales in 2012, its first full year on sale in this Nordic country.
The country has embraced zero emission mobility like no other. The Nissan Leaf was Norway’s 13th best selling new car with almost 2,298 examples registered in 2012.
More impressively yet, the Leaf is the second best selling car overall in Trondheim, Norway’s second largest city behind Oslo.
In total, more than 3,300 units have been sold in Norway since the battery-powered electric car went on sale in October 2011, and last year it was Nissan’s second most popular model in the country with sales just 599 units behind the Qashqai CUV.
Nissan said that part of the reason for its success is that Norway’s five million inhabitants are among the most environmentally aware in the world and all have access to power created from renewable energy – hydroelectric plants generate 99 percent the country’s electricity, more than in any other country in the world.
Incentives do help. Sales of the Nissan Leaf have also been boosted by the incentives open to buyers and drivers of electric vehicles in Norway. There’s no value added tax (VAT) on the car’s purchase price and no road tax to pay.
Toll roads, tunnels and ferries are mostly free to EV drivers while any driver commuting to work in an EV in Norway is allowed to use bus lanes; a typical rush hour drive might take as little as 20 minutes in a Nissan Leaf compared to over an hour in a conventionally powered car.
The EV driver also benefits from free parking while dedicated EV parking spaces usually include access to a charging post — and the electricity is free, of course.
Norway, in common with Nordic nations Sweden, Finland and Denmark, also has a growing network of Quick Chargers to allow EV drivers to tackle longer journeys.
Quick chargers, which allow a depleted battery to be recharged to 80 percent of its capacity in as little as 30 minutes, can be found in shopping malls and car parks.
A link has recently been established with McDonalds Restaurants, which will be installing Quick Chargers in its car parkings, allowing EV drivers to recharge their car’s batteries while they recharge their own, a blend of Fast Food and Fast Charging.
Currently Norway has around 3,500 publicly accessible AC normal chargers and 65 publicly accessible DC quick chargers, and by the end of 2013 there will be more than 200 DC quick chargers across Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.
Norway has also seen some notable EV firsts, such as young mum Solveig Marie Ødegård who passed her driving test in 2012 behind the wheel of a driving school’s Nissan Leaf.
The real significance, however, is not simply that she passed her test in an EV, but that she has never driven a car powered by an internal combustion engine in her life.
Her first car? A new Nissan Leaf, of course.
Increasing EV sales mean there’s a growing band of enthusiastic owners keen to compare notes with likeminded people so Norway has an active EV organization with a lively discussion forum. Membership of the forum is included in the purchase price of every Nissan Leaf sold in the country.