Shira Ovide, NEW YORK TIMES
Last year, Norway reached a milestone. Only about 8 percent of new cars sold in the country ran purely on conventional gasoline or diesel fuel. Two-thirds of new cars sold were electric, and most of the rest were electric-and-gasoline hybrids.
For years, Norway has been the world leader in shifting away from traditional cars, thanks to government benefits that made electric vehicles far more affordable and offered extras like letting electric car owners skip some fees for parking and toll roads.
Still, electric car enthusiasts are stunned by the speed at which the internal combustion engine has become an endangered species in Norway.
“It has surprised most people how quickly things have changed,” Christina Bu, the secretary general of the Norwegian EV Association, told me. In 2015, electric cars were about 20 percent of new car sales, and now they are “the new normal,” Bu said. (Her organization is like AAA for electric vehicle drivers.)
Americans might view Norwegians as environmental die-hards who were eager to ditch gas cars. But Bu and other transportation experts told me that Norwegians started with much of the same electric vehicle skepticism as Americans.