While Nissan is trumpeting the fact that they’ve already sold 1,000 LEAFs in Norway in their first six months of sales, they are not the first electric vehicle (EV) to reach that vaunted number.
Mitsubishi started selling their all electric model i in January of 2011, and by December they had broken the 1,000 unit mark. Sales of the i have slowed with the introduction of the Nissan LEAF. Nissan’s first month of sales in November achieved over 200 units sold, and LEAF sales have maintained a similar pace since.
Some of the incentives that accrue to electric car owners:
- zero Value Added Tax
- no new car tax
- free parking
- exemption from some tolls
- the use of bus lanes in Oslo
In addition, just the city of Oslo has roughly 3,500 charge stations for electric car use. The electric vehicle count in the country is not much higher than that - approaching 4,000 as of May of last year. It’s interesting that we haven’t heard of the city being plummeted into rolling brownouts or blackouts with the high concentration of EVs.
What makes this more interesting is that Norway relies on oil as a major source of income – to the tune of 2-3 billion barrels per day. Electric power generation for their own use is primarily via hydroelectric sources with additional power imported as needed. That said, Norway, and particularly the capitol city of Oslo, are firmly supportive of adopting electric cars. Oslo has more electric vehicles per capita than any other capital in the world. It seems that the Norwegians have no concerns about the battery pack in the LEAF or the Mitsubishi i. Then again, based on the previous experience that Nissan had in their North Pole adventure from 2000 to 2006, we expect the LEAF to do just fine.