The first sales numbers of this year coming from Norway tell an interesting tale. The country has recorded the lowest number of cars registered since 1962 with only 1,860 new cars in January.
That is truly a bleak number - in December there were 41,441 cars sold, out of which 39,497 were registered that month. December last year was a gold-rush moment for car buyers in Norway as the government announced it was ending some of the most generous EV subsidies come January.
The sales in Norway have been climbing steadily since 2010 when 154,158 cars were sold and ended up on 200,840 cars sold last year. January of this year is a complete shock to the system. While the car sales have been driven mainly by electric cars in the last few years, thanks to generous subsidies, the discontinuation of those understandably made Norwegians hit the pause button.
Until last year electric cars in Norway were exempt from VAT (25%) and purchase or import tax. From this year unfortunately the VAT is back and only the first NOK500,000 (€45,000) of the price of the car is exempt. There is a new purchase tax for EVs that’s levied based on their weight and the regular road tax is applied as well.
Electric cars in Norway no longer have the access to free toll roads and now have to pay 70% of the usual charge. There are no longer free ferries and access to bus lanes is restricted from this year as well. While before company vehicles enjoyed generous car tax reduction of up to 50%, this is now down to 20%.
Interestingly though, the leased electric cars are exempt from 25% VAT and people living in apartment blocks have a legal right to an EV charging point. All new cars in public services have to be emissions-free and from 2025 all buses will fall into this category as well.
While in January 2022 there were 7,957 cars sold in Norway, this January only saw 1,860. Out of those 1,419 were plug-ins with 1,237 BEVs. Obviously, the end of subsidies was bound to cause a collapse as everyone who wanted to buy an EV did so by December. It now remains to be seen how the market evolves from here on and what new trends emerge.
We will be watching this one closely, it will be very interesting to see the February and March numbers. A standoff between car buyers and the government would be quite something, but highly unlikely. In the end the buyers will need new cars, the fleet operators will carry on putting the orders through but the impact will be felt for a while. It is hard to recover from sales that are 10 times lower than they would normally be.
Well, I would not mind owning Tesla Model 3 LR :) which accidentally is one of the best EVs when it comes to enduring winter. I guess Norway and other colder countries are the best proving grounds for PR materials that usually focus on horsepower a...
Well, who wants those trash cars?
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