Volkswagen’s massive push into the electric vehicle segment will find no better base of support than Norway, perhaps the world’s most pro-EV country.
The German automaker’s looking to have more than 20 EV models available for sale globally by 2023, and 90% of the vehicles it sells in Norway starting in 2021 will be battery-electrics, according to Reuters. The number could swell to nearly 100% by 2023, the German auto maker’s local importer said Wednesday.
Last month, more than 60% of Norwegians bought an electric vehicle, which is up from about 42% for all of 2019. The focus of the country’s auto buying public on EVs is a bit ironic since a significant amount of the country’s revenue comes from oil reserves.
Despite its economic reliance on a fossil fuel, the country’s citizens are plowing their money into EVs, including a 2025 goal of ending the sale of all new gas- and diesel-engine vehicles. The government encourages the focus on EVs by giving owners tax exemptions on their vehicles — breaks not offered to owners of ICE-powered vehicles.
For a while, the nation was dominated by Tesla; however, increased competition has pushed the California-based EV maker down the list a bit. In fact, year-to-date sales figures show the Tesla Model 3 was only the fifth best-selling EV in the country behind the Audi e-Tron, VW Golf, Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Kona.
The remainder of the top 10 is the MG ZS, VW ID.3, BMW i3, Polestar 2 and Kia Niro. Two of those are making a massive impact already.
VW – along with several other automakers – hopes to keep making gains in the Scandinavian country. It rolled out the new ID.3 last month, and it appears everyone likes the new car on the block. It immediately jumped to the top of leaderboard for September. The Model 3 was right behind it and another new entry, the Polestar 2 wasn’t far behind, according to the Norwegian government.
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The results bode well for VW which will be rolling out the new ID.4 shortly and the government plans to keep the good times charging for EV makers. Reuters reported that the government’s 2021 fiscal spending plan extended its policy of zero tax on fully electric cars, which provides automakers with some much-appreciated continuity.
“This allows us to be confident in saying we can hit 90% electric car sales next year,” Harald A. Moeller AS, the Norwegian importer of Volkswagen cars, including the Audi, Skoda and Seat brands, told Reuters. “Customers will have access to an even greater selection of electric cars in most segments in 2021,” it added.
The import company set a 60% target for electric cars this year. Norwegians have purchased 53,915 battery-electric vehicles in 2020.