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First, that's EVs as 50% of new car sales, not 50% of the cars on the road. Of course Musk is excited: to manufacturers like Tesla, sales are all that matters, and Tesla has always depended on subsidies.

Norway has lots of hydroelectric power, so EVs make more sense than in many other places. Here in Alberta, EVs are coal- and gas-powered, so use of EVs is not so clearly beneficial.

Even assuming that EVs are good (maybe reasonable in this forum), the answer to the question of how to push this level of adoption is exactly what any reasonable person would expect: bribery :D. Tax exemptions (which means non-EV drivers subsidize EV drivers), free parking and free charging (paid for by the general public), HOV-lane access...

Incentives are inherently not sustainable. Where they are paid by non-electric vehicle owners, there will eventually be not enough left to pay, and the EV owners will need to pay their own way. Where they are paid by the general taxpayer, eventually it just becomes a matter of the government taking a dollar out of one of your pockets to put in (or some fraction of it, after bureaucratic inefficiency) in your other pocket. When everyone has access to the "HOV" lane, it's just another lane and of no benefit.

Norway is already at the point that the incentives are starting to go away (including parking and charging in Oslo, and most importantly VAT exemption nationwide).
Will Norway’s Electric-Vehicle Boom Outlast Its Incentives?

For now, the EV choice is easy: the VAT exemption makes an EV cheaper than equivalent gasoline car, and other incentives and subsidies make it cheaper to operate. With those factors gone, and even with an extremely high gasoline price (compared to, for instance, North America), there may be a rebound in non-EV sales, or at least a stagnation in EV market penetration. To force the completion of a transition, the only options are punitive (massive taxes and fees for non-EVs) and regulatory (just ban everything else).
 

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I agree. EVs already make sense for shorter commutes (Nissan Leaf), and that dovetails well in places like Norway with low population density and generally shorter commutes. And, as you point out, cheaper electricity. Iceland has a similar setup, even more compressed distance-wise, and about 50% hydro + 25% geothermal, their electricity is silly-cheap.


I object to subsidies in general because they are ALWAYS about political grandstanding, with the only cutout I have ever seen logically justified being the Manhattan Project to end a war early with a win. Generally, the same capability will be generally available and far cheaper if you just wait a few years, and the subsidies can never cause enough market penetration to justify the expenditure.


Alas, we live in a world of less-than-logical people and politicians live in the world of the emotional, so we will always see yet-another-subsidy packaged as "good for the world!"
 
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