Norway leads in the electric car race

In a bid to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions from traffic, the Norwegian government has provided a number of subsidies for the electric car owners. These include stripping a 25-percent sales tax and a registration tax but also driving free of charge through all toll plazas, enjoying free public parking and charging at a numerous fast speed chargers around the country, and even using bus lanes.

The initial plan of the government was to have 50,000 of the country’s 2.5 million registered private vehicles to run on electricity by 2017. But, in September it hit 66,000.

The government’s rationale for the strong incentives for buying electric cars was to reduce greenhouse emissions. The electric cars are eco friendly as there is no tailpipe emission, no gas required and they are less noisy.

Surveys, however, indicate that the government’s incentives have been a key factor for the strong growth of the sale of electric cars rather than environmental concerns.

However, some experts question certain common assumptions about the environmental credentials of electric cars. They highlight the “toxicity” of the electric cars’ manufacturing process conventional petrol/diesel cars. In addition to this, the electric car revolution is counterproductive if the electricity they consume is produced predominately by coal-fired power stations.

Furthermore, there are growing complains about the numerous electric cars clogging bus lanes. Studies show that majority of electric car owners have it as a second vehicle, meaning that it the electric car revolution resulted in more cars on the streets.

The first electric cars appeared in the 1880s and were popular until the early 20th century, when the world saw advances in engine technology and mass production of cheaper gasoline vehicles. The next big revival of interest in electric cars came with the global economic recession in late 2000. The automakers started abandoning fuel-inefficient vehicles, which were seen as a symbol of the excess that caused the recession, in favor of small, hybrid, and electric cars. Also, the year of 2008 saw advances in battery and power management technologies, concerns about increasing oil prices, and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: Embassy of Norway