To hear Nissan’s own executives say it, the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle isn’t living up to sales expectations. But there are some places where the Leaf is doing surprisingly well, including the Scandinavian country of Norway. Norway has managed to tap into two important metrics to make the Leaf a popular option; saving money, and saving time.
Unlike many European countries, where electric cars carry a huge price premium, there is no import tax or 25% VAT tax on EVs in Norway. In the first year on sale in Norway, the Nissan Leaf has sold almost 2,300 units (and is Norway’s 13th best-selling car overall). Leaf drivers are also exempt from car taxes, parking fees, and tolls. It still costs around $47,000 to buy a Leaf in the Nordic country, which isn’t cheap. But it is about the same price as a comparable car like the Volkswagen Golf with a 1.4 liter engine; cars ain’t cheap in Europe. Also consider that gas prices regularly reach $10 a gallon in Norway, and a fill-up can cost $100 or more. That makes the return-on-investment on a Leaf is much shorter than in the U.S.
There are other perks to EV ownership in Norway as well. As small as Norway is, the country of just five-million boasts more than 3,500 charging stations, and 100 fast-charging stations. This gives EV drivers a lot of options for public charging, and theys don’t pay a dime for charging either. But perhaps the biggest boon for EV drivers is the bus lane perk. In Norway, EV drivers can use bus lanes to get around traffic. That is a huge incentive in the oft-congested capital of Oslo.
The lessons here? Offer to save EV buyers not just money, but time, and you could see sales skyrocket. But is this a lesson come too late for the Nissan Leaf?