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Top-ranked EV market Norway invests in new technology

Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 07:00
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When President Donald Trump courted controversy by using a vulgar term to describe Haiti and Africa, calling for more immigrants from countries like Norway instead, perhaps he didn’t realize that most Norwegians are probably more inclined to say thanks, but no thanks.

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Although immigrants from Norway to the United States amounted to 800,000 people between 1825 and 1925, in 2016 only 1,114 Norwegians moved here – compared to the 1,603 Americans who pulled up stakes and migrated to Norway.

Blessed with spectacular scenery amid a mountainous, albeit wintery environment, the Nordic nation’s citizenry takes top honors in the World Happiness Report. They enjoy the globe’s fourth-highest per-person gross domestic product, near-full employment levels, universal health care and a life expectancy averaging 81.8 years; in the U.S. it’s 79.3 years.

Norway’s largest industry is petroleum production, but they burn very little of it in their vehicles – preferring pristine and pollution-free fjords rather than gas-fueled Fords and other internal combustion models.

On a per-capita basis Norway ranks No. 1 in the world for the adaptation of electric vehicles, trailing only China, the U.S. and Japan in sheer numbers. EVs account for more than half of the 2.7 million-plus cars on Norway’s roads.

Charged via an ample supply of clean and green hydroelectric power connected to an extensive network of quick-and-easy plug-in stations, EVs have become practical and popular for a population of 5.2 million people.

“Norway is a test bed for new models,” says Heming Bjorna, senior automotive segment specialist for the U.S. Commercial Service in Oslo. For EV-ready American parts and service providers, “This could be a market opportunity.”

Dealership bays are commonplace, but “there are no dedicated EV repair shops as far as I know,” he reports. Norwegians expecting lower EV repair costs because of fewer moving parts are looking askance at pricy maintenance fees.

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