Norway Loves the Nissan Leaf


  • 2013 Nissan Leaf Picture

    2013 Nissan Leaf Picture

    Norway appears to be the headquarters for the Nissan Leaf fan club. | April 10, 2013

2 Photos

Just the Facts:
  • No country has sold more Nissan Leafs per capita than Norway, the automaker announced on Tuesday.
  • The Nissan Leaf accounted for 1.7 percent of new-vehicle sales in Norway last year.
  • Nissan is helping to install EV charging stations at McDonald's restaurants in Norway.

OSLO, NORWAY — Norway appears to be the headquarters for the Nissan Leaf fan club. No country has sold more Nissan Leafs per capita than Norway, the automaker announced on Tuesday.

The Nissan Leaf accounted for 1.7 percent of new-vehicle sales in Norway last year.

To help boost sales, as well as serve existing EV owners, Nissan is partnering with McDonald's, which will be installing quick chargers at its restaurants in Norway. Customers will be able to fast-charge their cars while they fill up on fast food.

A spokesperson for Nissan Europe told Edmunds that Nissan and McDonald's have a relationship with Fortum, a Finnish energy company, which will handle the installation. Only a few chargers are in place so far, but more are planned.

McDonald's installed the first EV charging station in one of its U.S. restaurants in 2009 and has since made chargers available in a number of other locations across the country. Several competitors have followed suit, with Tim Hortons announcing a pilot program just last month.

Norway claims to have the highest level of government support for electric vehicles in Europe. This includes exemptions on new-car taxes, no VAT (value-added tax), free parking, a pass on some road and ferry tolls, and the use of bus lanes in Oslo, the capital. In addition, the country has about 3,500 public EV charging points, many of them free.

While in most countries EVs generally cost more than cars with internal-combustion engines, Norway has changed the economic model. Its citizens are among the most environmentally conscious in the world, and government incentives have made the cost of plug-in electrics competitive with gas and diesel equivalents.

It is worth noting that the price of gasoline in Norway is one of the highest in Europe, primarily due to taxes, while the cost of electricity is among the lowest. The country gets 99 percent of its electrical power from hydroelectric generation, as well as wind turbines, and it was the first country to generate electricity commercially from tidal power.

So, while those extremely generous incentives may work in some locations, similar programs may not be practical elsewhere. Not every country has Norway's mountains, waterfalls, and lengthy coastlines. But for EV manufacturers like Nissan, there are clear sales advantages in the Norwegian market.

In a country of 5 million people, Norwegian buyers purchased more than 10,000 plug-in electrics last year. That's more than 5 percent of total vehicle sales, compared to .06 percent of both electrics and hybrids in the United States.

Edmunds says: Fast food and fast charging seems to be a natural combination, judging from what's going on in Norway.

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