Norway’s E-mobility Programme Future Policy Award

Norway’s E-mobility Programme Future Policy Award

With an ambitious policy to incentivise electric vehicle use, Norway has taken an exemplary step towards ensuring the reduction of carbon emissions. Designed based on scientific research and innovative technology, Norway’s e-mobility programme also contributes to the global efforts in reducing dependency on fossil fuels by publishing reports that help other countries adopt a similar model.

At a Glance

  • Norway is the leading country in electric vehicle (EV) usage thanks to its e-mobility programme. As of 2017, there are more than 100,000 EVs registered in Norway.
  • The e-mobility programme encourages its citizens to use EVs through providing national subsidies, reduced taxes, free access to public spaces, garages, free use of toll roads, use of bus lanes and free use of domestic ferries.
  • Norway aims to set an example for other countries by publishing research on its e-mobility experience and engaging in cooperation to build e-mobility highways.

Policy Reference
Connected Policies

  • No purchase/import taxes (1990)
  • Exemption from 25% VAT on purchase (2001)
  • Low annual road tax (1996)
  • No charges on toll roads or ferries (1997 and 2009)
  • Free municipal parking (1999)
  • Access to bus lanes (2005)
  • 50% reduced company car tax (2000)
  • Exemption from 25% VAT on leasing (2015)

Selection as a Future-Just Policy

Norway is the world’s leading EV market thanks to its unique incentive programme implemented since the 1990s.  EVs are an efficient way of reducing carbon emissions and avoiding the usage of fossil fuels, since they do not produce any exhaust emissions in comparison to petrol and diesel based engines. By adopting an e-mobility programme to incentivise the use of EVs, Norway has taken a successful, concerted effort towards achieving a decrease in its carbon emissions.

As part of the programme, Norway encourages the use of EVs through tax exemptions or reduced taxes, free use of domestic ferries, permission to use bus lanes and national subsidies. The outcomes of the programme are published as reports to inform the public and to set an example for other countries that might benefit from implementing a similar programme. The exemplary stance of Norway toward EVs should be highlighted as an applicable, green technology driven way to reduce carbon emissions from the transport sector.

Future-Just Policy Scorecard

Our “Best Policies” are those which meet the Future-Just Lawmaking Principles and recognise that interrelated challenges require interconnected solutions. The World Future Council’s unique research and analysis ensure that important universal standards of sustainability and equity, human rights and freedoms, and respect for the environment are coherently considered by policy-makers.

   Sustainable use of natural resources

  • By adopting the e-mobility programme as an applicable instrument in reducing carbon emissions, Norway contributes greatly to protecting the climate and reducing its dependency on fossil fuels.
  • The e-mobility programme helps to improve the local air quality and promotes energy efficiency, with the goal to achieve sustainability in the transportation sector.

   Equity and poverty eradication

  • The programme does not directly address poverty or equity issues.

   Precautionary approach

  • By adopting a “polluter pays more” approach to tax private means of transportation, the e-mobility programme aims to reduce Norway’s carbon emissions to avoid further contribution to climate change.

   Public participation, access to information and justice

  • Regular reports on the e-mobility programme and its targets are published by the government, accessible online.
  • Public participation is a crucial part of the programme since it aims to increase the rate of EVs in the market share. The government conducts regular research to assess the level of public satisfaction with the incentives and the EVs themselves.

    Good governance and human security

  • The e-mobility programme was chosen as a way of reducing emissions because scientific research indicated that EVs would be well-received by the public.
  • There is ongoing research conducted by government bodies on how to increase the market share of the EVs even further.

   Integration and interrelationship

  • The e-mobility programme is treated as an integrated part of the general environmental plan for reducing national greenhouse gas emissions in Norway.
  • EVs are also proving to serving as a tourist attraction, boosting the financial benefits for private enterprises that choose to utilise them.

   Common but differentiated responsibilities

  • The e-mobility programme, while implemented by the government, also contains cooperation from private enterprises.
  • The programme established Transnova, a body giving financial support to charging facilities, to increase the usage of EVs through cooperating with the private sector.


Modelling the EV concept dates back to the 1970s in Norway. During the 1970s, prototypes of EVs and propulsion systems were developed by private enterprises with financial support from the research council of Norway.

Achieving an applicable climate policy was the main motivation behind Norway’s commitment to e-mobility since the 1990s, but it was technological advancements and industrial development that made this goal attainable. Technological developments made producing EVs cheaper and the global trend aiming at energy efficiency enabled EV production to become a lucrative area for the automobile industry.  A Norwegian electric vehicle industry cluster was thus developing and it became important for the government to support the development of a domestic market. In 1990, EVs were exempted from the registration tax charge as part of a pilot scheme. The scheme became permanent in 1996, gradually increasing the market share of EVs in Norway.


The main objective of the programme is to gradually increase the market share of EVs. The expected outcome of incentivising EV usage is ambitious; all new cars sold by 2025 are expected to be EVs or plug-in hybrids for a lower emission rate.

Methods of Implementation

The e-mobility programme was implemented through five distinct phases:

– Concept development phase (1970s-1990)

– Testing phase (1990-1999)

– Early market phase (1999-2009)

-Market introduction phase (2009-2013)

– Market expansion phase (2013-ongoing)

As part of the implementation process the following incentives were introduced:

  • No purchase/import taxes (1990)
  • Exemption from 25% VAT on purchase (2001)
  • Low annual road tax (1996)
  • No charges on toll roads or ferries (1997 and 2009)
  • Free municipal parking (1999)
  • Access to bus lanes (2005)
  • 50% reduced company car tax (2000)
  • Exemption from 25% VAT on leasing (2015)


In 2015, electric vehicles had a 22% market share in Norway, by 2016 their market share increased by 7%, reaching 29% of total market share. This rate continues to increase every year due to the efforts made by the government in cooperation with NGOs and private enterprises. As of 2017, there are more than 100,000 EVs registered in Norway. The goal is to reach 400,000 by 2020.

Research conducted by the government before implementing the programme also paid off; as a result of successful implementation, EV owners have a high satisfaction rate with only 4% saying they would want to switch to a petrol or diesel car if they had to replace their EV tomorrow. This signifies EVs will spread even further in the near future.

Potential as a Transferable Model

Norway aims to set an example for other countries by publishing new research and evaluation of the EV experiences so far. This analysis is not just about the environment but also about providing a framework for the EV manufacturers, government adaption and management of various barriers to development, user needs and motives as well as the benefits and costs for the involved actors and to society in general.

Additionally, Norway actively cooperates with other countries to spread the use of EVs. For instance, the Green Highway is a collaboration project between Norway and Sweden, which aims to create a fossil fuel free transport corridor across Mid-Scandinavia by 2020. The success of EVs in Norway has also inspired other countries; Germany, France, United Kingdom and India have announced plans to ban non-electric vehicles in the coming decades.

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