In the United States, California is the center of hybrid and electric vehicle sales, accounting for about 40% of all plug-in vehicle sales for the entire country.
Actually, sales of plug-in vehicles, including plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, have more than tripled sales in the last year, but the best place to spot them is still in California. In the European Union, the best place to spot an electric vehicle is in the far northern reaches of the continent, Norway. While Norway is a relatively oil-rich country, they have been pushing away from oil for some time now. Electric vehicles are just one step in that direction and, with options like the Tesla Model S and the Opel Ampera, they’re more popular than ever.
In Norway, electric vehicles accounted for 7.2% of new vehicle sales in October. The Nissan Leaf alone has a 5.6% market share, and has topped the new vehicle registration charts for the last two months. September electric vehicle sales were dominated by the Tesla Model S, because of the backlog of orders that had built up before the US-made vehicle finally shipped to the country.
Norway also makes electric vehicles really easy to buy, eliminating taxes that can account for tens of thousands of dollars, public parking fees and urban tolls. Like California and some other states, Norwegian electric vehicles also have unlimited access to the bus lanes.
Snorre Sletvold, president of the Norwegian Electric Car Association, said “Norway is showing the way out of oil dependence, or even addiction,” but not everyone agrees with the method. Bjart Holtsmark, a researcher with Statistics Norway, says the country is losing millions on incentives for vehicles that use fossil-fuel-based electricity and encourage people to buy second vehicles instead of using public transportation. “Electric vehicles shouldn’t be subsidized at all. It would be smarter to use that money on research to develop better batteries,” he says.
Image © AFP Photo/Daniel Sannum Lauten