Though it may not seem like a natural fit, Norway has embraced electric vehicles more wholeheartedly than any other European nation. The Tesla Model S and Nissan LEAF are among the best-selling vehicles in the entire country thanks to wide-ranging incentives that make owning an EV both affordable and convenient.
Yet somehow, not everybody is happy with the results. Phys.org reports that some people in Norway are complaining about the congestion EVs are causing in bus lanes, and the substantial cost of the many incentives buyers get.
There are some 32,000 EVs on the road in Norway which is about 1% of all cars in the country, led by the Tesla Model S, and all of them have access to what were once bus-only lanes, causing a public transit traffic jam that often disrupts service. Bus drivers in particular aren’t happy, and they don’t have many nices things to say about the drivers of electric vehicles who get in their way. EV drivers in Norway also get free use of many city ferries, and don’t have to pay the many road and bridge tolls on the roads there,
Those lost tolls, as well as the exemption from the Value Added Tax (or VAT) has cost the Norwegian government an estimated $650 million in lost revenue. This has some people pressuring government officials to end or reduce the many incentives aimed at EV drivers, even though about half of EV buyers said they bought their electric car to save money. While not having to pay for gasoline is still a big money saver (especially in a country where petrol products are heavily taxed), perhaps a better first step would be to remove EV access to bus lanes. Just 12% of buyers said they got an electric car to “save time”, and while getting around traffic is great and all, it’s not fair for three people in cars to hold up 30 passengers on a bus either.
Still, these incentives have worked better at getting electric cars on Norway’s roads than any other place in the world, and other governments (both local and national) should look to Norway for leadership on this issue.
Or maybe you disagree? How far should the government go to encourage EV use?