Norway - lightning demand for electric car Nissan LEAFs

Over 1,000 Nissan LEAFs have been sold in Norway just six months after the bellwether electric car was released in the country.

The surge in sales catapulted the LEAF to ninth on the list of the best-selling passenger cars in Norway in February this year, bagging a two per cent share of the car market, and making the LEAF Nissan's second highest selling car nationally.

Olivier Paturet, general manager of Zero Emission Strategy at Nissan Europe, attributed the rapid uptake to the substantial package of tax breaks and incentives the Norwegian government has provided for electric cars, which amounts to the highest level of support in Europe.

No VAT is charged on electric vehicle purchases in Norway, the new car tax is waived, and drivers are eligible for free parking, exemption from some tolls, and can use bus lanes in Oslo. There are also around 3,500 public charging points in the capital, many of which are free to use.

While the UK offers £5,000 discounts on electric car purchases and a range of other tax breaks, many of its charging points require paid-for membership of private schemes.

Last year, the government announced it would cease backing public charging infrastructure and leave it up to the private sector to accelerate the rollout of charging points.

"The Norwegian package of incentives is unsurpassed and the recharging infrastructure is established and accessible," Paturet said in a statement.

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