Why is Norway the world capital for plug-in vehicles?

See what you can do with some sensible incentives?

After spectacular sales in March, electric vehicles hit a momentous milestone in Norway: one percent of the country’s passenger-car fleet is now battery electric vehicles. (Wikimedia Commons photo of electric vehicles in Norway.)

wikimedia commons photo of evs in Oslo

According to a story by our friends at GreenCar Reports, Norway now has more than 26,886 plug-in vehicles out of a total fleet of 2.5 million passenger cars

“For comparison, the U.S. would have to have 2.5 million plug-in vehicles on the roads to equal Norway's percentage,” according to the story. At this point, the U.S. is approaching 200,000 plug-in vehicles sold since December 2010--less than one-tenth Norway's total in percentage terms.

In a sign of future growth, plug-ins have a 10 percent share of new passenger-vehicle sales in Norway.

On the negative side, a cut in government support could slow the transition to electric vehicles.

What’s that mean for us here in Michigan?

Well, among other things, the Norwegian government has encouraged sales of electric vehicles with a variety of incentives. In Norway, electric vehicles are exempt from the annual road tax, all public parking fees and toll payments.

And they’re able to use bus lanes to boot.

If we really want Michigan to lead the way into the future of this great industry, we ought to look at what we can learn from Norway.