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Anarchic Tale Behind Norway's Early Adoption of EVs

Updated: Aug 12, 2022

Paving the way for the world's highest per capita electric vehicle ownership.

In 1995, Morten Harket (the lead singer of the 1980s band A-ha) and the head of Bellona, the Norwegian environmental group, got into a converted electric Fiat they had imported and set off on what can only be described as an anarchic road trip.

They drove around Oslo parking illegally as often as possible, refusing to pay road tolls, and ignoring all the penalty notices they received - until, finally, the authorities seized their car and auctioned it off to cover the fines.

This imaginative stunt attracted huge media attention and much public debate. Resulting, soon after, with the government announcing that electric vehicles were to become exempt from road tolls. This was just one of a slew of incentives that have, over the years, helped make Norway the country with the world’s highest per capita electric vehicle ownership.

Norway therefore looks on course to meet a government target – set in 2016, with full cross-party parliamentary support – of phasing out the sale of all new fossil-fuel based cars and light commercial vehicles by 2025. At least a decade before any other country. Could 1995 be called Norway's A-ha moment?

Don't remember A-ha or have never heard of them? Or would like to refresh your memory of their biggest hit? Here's Cry Wolf from 1986...


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