Norwegian EV party to end in May – Tesla already a wallflower

Out of the way!

Out of the way!

The electric party is about to be over in EV-wonderland Norway. In May, the 50,000th EV is expected to be sold in the country of just 5 million. This means the end of the extremely generous benefits Norwegian EV buyers enjoy. Politicians discuss a follow-up program, but it won’t be anywhere as princely as the current one.

Trouble in paradise


18 percent of all cars sold in Norway are EVs or hybrids, more than anywhere else in Europe. (In Japan, that share is more than 30% of regular vehicles sold , mainly due to hybrids.) The clean cars are making their presence felt in by now overcrowded bus-lanes, to which the cars received access as part of the stimulus. The impact is also felt through the absence of value added tax paid into government coffers. Both is also about to change.

“It is not environmentally friendly when buses are late because their lanes are full with EVs,” parliamentarian Gjermund Hagesæter, himself a Tesla Model S owner, told Norway’s Aftenposten.

Tesla’s raucous Norwegian party is long over anyway. In 2014, Norway’s best-selling EV was the Nissan Leaf. In the first two month of 2015, the German Empire struck back, and Volkswagen’s e-Golf solidly trounced the American upstart, and left the Leaf in place 2.

Volkswagen''s electric plans, as shown today

Volkswagen”s electric plans, as shown today

If Norway is the world’s testing lab for the electric future, then the science experiment predicts what will happen in the real world: Outsiders can make inroads in the EV market while nobody is looking, or interested. After the usual hesitation, large OEMs leave neither money nor market share on the table, and they will disrupt the prospective disrupters. Today, Volkswagen’s CEO Martin Winterkorn, and his R&D chief Hackenberg declared that the company is committed to the European 95g CO2 rule, and that this will only be possible with more hybrids, plug-ins, pure EVs, and even FCVs across all brands of the sprawling behemoth. All other EU carmakers will have to do likewise, or pay through their bleeding noses. Tesla was O.K. while Musk was treated as an amicable lunatic by the rest of the industry. Taken seriously as a competitor, he is toast.

And this is how it will pan out: Wherever there is a viable market for electric vehicles, be it through customer demand, government regulation, or both, large OEMs will occupy and defend their market positions, and with their size, scale, and market power, they will crush any upstarts. Where there is no viable market, neither upstarts nor OEMs will thrive.

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