Last week Norway celebrated its 100,000th battery electric car registered, and with that, the tiny nation now has about one-in-10 of all EVs sold worldwide.

The global total of plug-in hybrids and battery electrics is around 1.9 million, and a solid one-million of the latter type was reported having been sold through September.

Norway, population 5.27 million, may therefore deserve an entry in an encyclopedia filed under “where there is a will, there is a way.”

Did Edvard Munch foresee the existential angst over environmental concerns?

Did Edvard Munch, born Dec. 12, 1863, foresee the existential angst over environmental concerns? No telling, but Norway did celebrate 100,000 EVs on his birthday last week.

While in other places, such as the U.S., automakers are not even sufficiently advertising their electric cars, Norway has the political will to subsidize plug-ins to the point that they now comprise more than 25 percent of new car sales.

The 100,000 milestone came just one year and eight months after the 50,000 milestone in April 2015, and was commemorated coincidentally on the birthday of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch at the Munch Museum.

SEE ALSO: Norway Celebrates 50,000th Plug-in Sold

“Today we are celebrating 100,000 emission free battery electric cars on Norwegian roads,” said Secretary General Christina Bu of the Norwegian EV Association. “The present fleet cuts approximately 200,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually. Even though BEVs only account for 3 percent of the total passenger car fleet, we have achieved a substantial reduction. But there is more to come.”

Bu said the 100,000 came “way earlier than most people expected,” and the goal for Norway is 400,000 by 2020. Anyone want to bet they won’t make it?

Helping things along is the Norwegian Parliament has set a goal that after 2025 100-percent of vehicle sales will be zero-emission.

Changing The Fleet

As of November there were 2,747,483 passenger vehicles registered in Norway, and the 129,675 light-duty plug-in electrified cars are 4.7 percent of this.

Charts: Mario R. Duran.

Charts: Mario R. Duran.

By the first quarter of 2017, plug-ins should comprise 5 percent of the cars on Norway’s roads.

The top-five best sellers have been the Nissan Leaf (27,115), Volkswagen e-Gold (15,991), Tesla Model S (11,615), BMW i3 (8,011), and Kia Soul EV (6,632 – tied with VW e-Up!)

Registrations EVs Norway 2004 2015

Rounding out the top 10 are the Renault ZOE (3,431), Mitsubishi i-MiEV (3,309), Peugeot iOn (2,340), and Citroën C-Zero (2,248).

Global Influence

For anyone who says electric cars are not ready to supplant internal combustion cars in a meaningful way, Norway stands as a counter example, although Bu said incentives are still very much needed.

ommunications Director at Nissan Nordic Europe, Marina Maneas Bakkum, shows that the Leaf accounts for more than 1 out 4 electric cars in Norway. (Photos: Ståle Frydenlund/

Communications Director at Nissan Nordic Europe, Marina Maneas Bakkum, shows that the Leaf accounts for more than 1 out 4 electric cars in Norway. (Photos: Ståle Frydenlund/

Pure EVs are on the verge of becoming competitive, said Bu, and ought by next decade to achieve parity but the pressure needs to stay on.

“Norwegian politicians need to sit tight and continue the proven recipe for success,” she said. “This means offering substantial benefits to zero emissions car buyers.”

And, according to a Norwegian report, a survey of buyer attitudes also indicates more is needed. In it, 15 percent of Norwegians over 18 said they needed to buy an electric car within two years. Of these, 4 percent answered “strongly agree” and 11 percent “fairly agree.”

However, 56 percent of the total survey respondents said they fairly or strongly disagree that they are considering buying an electric car the next two years. And, 68 percent said that the range is too short, and 46 percent believe charging is problematic.


But this is due to change, as automakers announce longer range EVs, and quicker charging facilities, as other synergies also come into play giving hope to Norway’s advocates

As the head of a 40,000 EV owners’ association – the world’s largest – Bu sees Norway’s case example of going for broke toward EVs as a positive influence on the world.

“Norway inspires other countries to implement similar measures, and we show the international automotive industry how to create consumer demand for electric cars,” she said. “We get ever more proof supporting this notion.”

One proof cited was when Volkswagen’s board visited to ask questions and learn from how Norway was adapting to EVs.


A handful of other manufacturers have also learned from Norway this year, as they seek to push for technological development as well.

Thanks to Mario R. Duran for help with data.