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Norway's A-ha Moment

Updated: Jun 12, 2020

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.

Last month, fully electric cars accounted for just under 60% of the country's new car market, and plug-in hybrids just over 15% – that's a whopping 75% of all new cars sold being either wholly or partly electric. 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.

“It’s actually quite amazing how fast the mindset’s changed,” said Christina Bu of the Norwegian EV Electric Vehicle Association. “Even in 2013 or 2014, people were sceptical. Now, a majority of Norwegians will say: my next car will be electric.”

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