While 2018 may not be considered the best year ever by many, there was still some good news that came of it, especially in the realm of environmental protection. Plastic straws were banned in a number of cities throughout the world, France banned five pesticides that pose threat to the bee population, and now, an incredible world record has been set by Norway for 2018, Reuters reported, when nearly a third of the country’s new car sales were pure electric.
According to a report from independent Norwegian Road Federation (NRF) released on Wednesday, January 2, electric car sales made up a whopping 31.2 percent of all new car sales for the last year, yielding an increase of more than 10 percent from 2017 when electric cars made up 20.8 percent of sales.
Arguably even more astonishing is the 25 percent increase in the sale of these cars over the span of the last five years, which only dominated 5.5 percent of the market in 2013. The report also noted that sales of petrol and diesel-based cars saw a significant decrease, as did the number of new cars sold in the country in general, which fell 6.8 percent.
Aiding in the sales of electric cars are incentives set by the country, such as exempting battery-driven cars from most taxes. They are also offered free parking and charging stations.
“It was a small step closer to the 2025 goal,” said Oeyvind Solberg Thorsen, head of the NRF, referring to the Norwegian parliament’s strive to diminish the sale of fossil-fueled vehicles within the next six years.
The sale of pure electric cars jumped 40 percent last year, with Nissan’s latest model of the Leaf electric car leading the surge as the country’s top-selling car of 2018. At the same time, diesel, petrol, and hybrid cars all saw a drop in sales by more than 15 percent each.
And while its record-setting sales number from the past year is quite impressive, Thorsen noted that it still means two-thirds of the nearly 148,000 cars sold in 2018 were either powered by fossil fuels or were hybrids, which have both battery power and an internal combustion engine.
Unfortunately, not everyone sees that country’s 2025 goal as plausible, including the Institute of Transport Economics (ITE), a consultancy.
“Strictly speaking I don’t think it’s possible, primarily because too many people don’t have a private parking space and won’t want to buy a plug-in car if they can’t establish a charging point at home,” ITE economist Lasse Fridstroem told Reuters, though he did predict the cars could dominate 75 percent of the market.