Why is the Nissan Leaf so popular in Norway and across Scandinavia?

nissan leaf
Nissan Leaf goes Scandinavian crazy!
nissan leaf
Nissan Leaf goes Scandinavian crazy!

While it is not a secret that electric cars are more accepted and more popular across Scandinavia, the Nissan Leaf appears to be extremely popular in Norway. Such is the popularity of this award-winning vehicle that it accounted for 1.7% of total Norwegian car sales in 2012 and has so far sold 3,300 units since October 2011.  Globally the Nissan Leaf has sold 50,000 units making it the best selling electric car of all time.  When you also consider the fact that it was Nissan’s second best-selling car model in Norway we begin to ask ourselves why electric cars are so popular across Scandinavia?

Is it financial or is it environmental?

Despite all the hype surrounding the electric car market the fact is that you will choose an electric vehicle because there is a financial incentive and/or you have environmental considerations to not use gas. The fact that the vast majority of electric cars available today look almost identical to their gasoline counterparts is also something that has not gone unnoticed. So, do Norwegian drivers have more of a conscience about the environment or is it financial?

The environment

Scandinavians have a greater understanding of the impact that vehicle emissions have on the environment. Even though there are potential financial benefits to going “green” and buying an electric car, like the Nissan Leaf, if there was not such a strong green movement in the country then the degree to which electric cars have been accepted would likely be significantly lower. However, aside from the natural Scandinavian view on the environment there is no doubt that governments across the Nordic regions have been making greater leaps with regards for electric vehicle tax incentives, fast charging stations, and laws compared to Western nations.

Electric car owners have Advantages in Norway

If we quickly run through a number of positive aspects to driving an electric car in Norway for example, you will very quickly appreciate why electric vehicles are popular in this part of the world. Firstly, electric cars are able to use bus lanes in any towns, they attract no tax whatsoever and the government and local authorities have worked very hard to create a free national charging network with around 3,500 regular stations available. There are also an additional 65 fast charging stations dotted across the country with promises of more to follow in Norway.  This means nobody who buys an electric car needs to worry about “range anxiety.” While many other governments around the world continue to grab the headlines, invest billions of dollars into the industry, it seems that governments across Scandinavia prefer to offer endless empty promises. We have also had confirmation that Nissan is committed to a further 10 charging stations as part of an agreement across Europe which will see an additional 400 electric car charging stations built in the short to medium term.  This should help electric vehicle sales as well as Nissan Leaf sales on a whole.

Passing your test in an electric vehicle

For some people it is difficult to spot an electric vehicle in their neighborhood since they are are still not as many on the road as there should be.  How many of us have actually seen someone learning to drive in an electric car though? Well, the growing popularity of electric vehicles across Norway has enabled the country to offer the first driving exam in the world in which you are able to pass your driver’s exam in an electric car. As you guessed it, the car in question was a Nissan Leaf and it was used for the driving test because the driver had only ever driven an electric vehicle before. There must be some lessons which Western governments can learn from their Scandinavian counterparts? There must be a key to unlocking the electric car industry because, the technology is there, it is improving all of the time, battery charging stations are emerging and companies such as Nissan are determined to “crack the mass market”. But what is that missing ingredient?