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During the first quarter of 2019, battery electric vehicle (BEV) registrations grew by 87.5% across the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), in comparison to the same quarter in the previous year. In fact, the total number of BEVs registered across the EU and EFTA almost doubled from 44,637 to 83,676.

The UK is now the fifth largest procurer of BEVs behind the Netherlands, France, Germany, with Norway asserting itself as the leading market for electric vehicles (EVs) – illustrated in the graph below. In the upcoming issue of Charged Up: Future Fleet, Cornwall Insight examines how Norway created a healthy environment for EVs and whether this can be replicated in the UK.

Tom Lusher Analyst at Cornwall Insight, said: “Norway’s car market is relatively small by comparison to the UK, with 2.8 million vehicles on the road as of 2018. However, in March – aided by the release of the Tesla Model 3 to European markets – Norway recorded the first ever month where BEV sales had a majority market share (58%) over traditional petrol and diesel vehicles.

“The taxation policies in Norway mean that EVs are exempt from vehicle registration and ownership taxes. They also benefit from reductions in road tolls, as well as enjoying incentives such as free parking and access to some bus lanes. This combination of factors is making BEVs more attractive in Norway.

“A variety of factors drives lower BEV uptake in the UK, and a simplistic comparison to Norway risks over-generalisation. On the one hand, the UK government’s taxation policies, despite the grants available, have not had the same impact as the fiscal policies in Norway in driving EV take up. However, range anxiety is also a significant contributor to dissuading potential EV drivers in the UK too.

“Taking a step back from distinct market characteristics, the general and obvious lesson from Norway though is that creating an environment where EVs become more attractive in comparison to their petrol and diesel counterparts, both from a tax but also the general cost of living perspective, undoubtedly helps increase EV sales.”