Norwegians adopt electric cars in droves

  • 02/12/2015
Norwegians adopt electric cars in droves

The future of cars may well be electric, and thanks to some heavy government subsidies, Norway is leading the way.

But Norwegians may soon be sold on the idea without any incentive.

A great, national and expensive experiment is underway in Norway, where a quarter of all new cars sales have "E" plates – for electric.

Lief Halvorden admits he's one of the lab rats. Mr Halvorden has done the math.  With all the government incentives to go electric, he says he'd be crazy not to.

"This car will be for free. It's hard to get a better deal than free."

By "free" he means he can basically drive for nothing. By the time the Government has waived the whopping 25 percent sales tax and the road-tax registration fee, the sticker price for electric cars can actually be less than their petrol or diesel equivalents. 

Once on the road, other benefits kick in – no highway tolls, free ferry rides and free charge-ups at the government-subsidised plug-in points, where the power comes from clean hydro-sources.

The old criticism that the cars have limited range becomes a non-issue when you can plug in almost everywhere.

For commuter Anita Wiborg, there's another E-car incentive – access to bus and taxi lanes.

"I can save up to an hour actually if it's really bad."

Electric cars might work in Norway, you might say; it's a small country, with relatively short driving distances and with plenty of cash to throw at the problem. But what about bigger places with less cash to throw around?  The Norwegians say they have learned one thing here – build them and they will come.

So many have come, Norway's Deputy Environmental Minister, Lars Lunde, says the Government will start phasing out the subsidies.

Watch the video for the full CBS News report.