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Survey: Norwegian PHEVs drive electrically 55% of time, BEVs driven more in total and in everyday traffic

Norway leads the European market for plug-in vehicles, with more than 105,000 units registered through May 2016. A recent survey of 8,000 vehicle owners in Norway by Norway’s Institute of Transport Economics found that plug-in hybrids there drive electrically with power from the grid 55% of the time (and 63% on work trips), while battery electric vehicles are driven more in total and in everyday traffic.

The survey also found that buyers of battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles have different transport needs but both are motivated by economy of use and environment; battery electric vehicle owners are also motivated by a free toll road incentive. Battery electric vehicle owners are younger, have more children, a longer distance to drive work and own more vehicles than other vehicle owners.

Other findings of the survey:

  • Normally diesel and gasoline vehicles are replaced when buying a battery electric vehicle, but a larger share of battery electric vehicles become extra vehicles in households. These owners could belong to an age group and family type where such behavior is more common or indicate a potential rebound effect.

  • The vehicles are mainly charged at home, partly at work and rarely elsewhere. Fast charging is used for irregular trips where users plan to use them to accomplish the trip or to solve a problem on the go.

  • Most battery electric vehicle owners manage everyday life well. They are satisfied with the vehicle and with the attractive local incentives not available to other vehicle users. This experience may explain why battery electric vehicle and plug-in hybrids do not seem to compete for the same customer.

  • Peer-to-peer influence is particularly important to diffusion of battery electric vehicles, as this is the biggest source of information leading to the purchase. Plug-in hybrid buyers received most information leading to the purchase from dealers and advertising material.

  • Most BEV owners (71%) also own an ICEV, 4% a PHEV and 4% more than one BEV. The remaining 21% only have the one BEV. 46% of PHEV owners and 48% of ICEV owners belong to single vehicle household. The most multipurpose BEV, Tesla Model S, is twice as common in single BEV households as in households also owning ICEVs, and four times as common in households owning several BEVs.

  • The four reasons most frequently mentioned by the 89% of BEV owners who say they will buy a BEV again are economy of use, environmental performance, future proof technology, and the free usage of toll roads without paying. Less than 1% will not buy a BEV again. The reasons not to buy again are range and charging issues.

  • The three main reasons why 80% of PHEV owners say they will buy one again are economy of use, environmental performance and that the technology is future proof. Only 2% will not buy a PHEV again. The main reasons not to buy again are the short range in E-mode and inability to use E-mode when it is cold.

  • BEV owners use their BEVs more for all types of trips in everyday traffic but less on non- routine trips and vacation, than PHEV and ICEV owners do. BEV owners have about 7 km longer distance to work than owners of a PHEV or owners of an ICEV. BEV owners drive their BEVs about 15,500 km per year which is slightly more than PHEVs that are driven 15,200 km. ICEVs are used the least, around 15,000 km.

  • User estimates for E-mode range is on average about 20% lower than the official range in E-mode in the summer and 30% lower in the winter.

The report is part of the Emiroad (Emission from Road Transport vehicles) project financed by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration with a contribution from the BISEK (A research program on the social and economic impact of vehicles) research program.

This report presents the results of a nationwide survey of Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV), Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) and Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle (ICEV) owners in Norway conducted in March 2016. The 3,111 BEV respondents were recruited using e-mails sent to members of the Norwegian EV Association. The 2,065 private PHEV owners were recruited using postcards sent to their home address. The 3,080 ICEV owners were recruited using e-mails sent to a representative national sample of the members of the Norwegian Automobile Federation (NAF).

The total response rate was about 19%, slightly higher for PHEV owners (26%) and lower for ICEV owners (15%). The BEV owner sample is mostly representative of the total BEV fleet, apart from an overrepresentation of Tesla Model S, and minor regional deviations. The PHEV sample is relatively representative of private owners.

Vehicle purchase taxes are very high in Norway. The registration tax consists of taxes on vehicle weight, engine power, CO2-emissions and NOx-emissions. The tax is progressive, and registration tax for heavier vehicles with large engines and high emissions can be more than €15,000 (US$16,900). Tax for a typical compact vehicle could be €6,000, for a small vehicle around €2,000. BEVs are exempt from this tax; compact-sized PHEVs typically have no registration tax as the low CO2-emission value of these vehicles gives a tax deduction that can be deducted from the tax on the other elements. In addition, BEVs are exempted from the 25% VAT imposed on other vehicles. Several local incentives are also available, such as access to bus lane and free passing of toll roads.



Appropriate variable taxes, fees and subsidies used in Norway are real boosters for electrified vehicles sales and uses. The availability of quick charging stations is another positive factor.

With very similar conditions and same green electricity we are years behind Norway. We have a lot to learn?


"Battery electric vehicle owners are younger, have more children, a longer distance to drive work and own more vehicles than other vehicle owners."
Thus, BEV people have more access to other (ICE) cars for occasional long runs and keep the EV for "in spec" runs.
This is perfectly logical, especially as they give toll free driving to EVs (for now).
They'll have to abandon the Toll free stuff once the number of EVs gets high, but by then, we would hope that EVs are so good that people won;t need bribes to use them.
Also, Norway has so much money that they can use taxation for policy rather than tax collection - most countries do not have that luxury.
Again, as long as you have access to an ICE when you need one, EVs make sense, even limited range ones like 24KwH Leaf's etc.

As I keep pointing out, a good EV/ICE share/swap system could achieve a lot.
(EV vendors could keep a few 2nd hand cars available for swaps, for instance).


Could EVs to ICEVs and visa versa be done on private bases? It should be easy enough to design an IT data program (like UBER) to benefit all owners/users?

Exchanges could have limits like 100 KM to 300 KM free and surcharges above.

Insurance coverages may have to be adjusted.

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