Nearly two-thirds of all new car registrations in Norway in 2021 were electric vehicles (EVs), an industry body said Monday, a figure unmatched in the world.
Of new cars sold in the Scandinavian country last year, 64.5 percent were battery-powered vehicles, compared with 54.3 percent in 2020, according to Opplysningsradet for Veitrafikken (OFV, "Information Council for Road Traffic").
Thanks in particular to its Model 3, US electric car manufacturer Tesla took 11.6 percent of the market share and was the single best-selling brand in 2021 with over 20,000 units sold.
The proportion of electric cars is unparallelled in the world and was reported against a backdrop of record new car registrations in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic, with 176,276 new cars sold in Norway, including 113,715 electric cars.
"Few had envisaged that 2021 would be a record year for new car sales in Norway. And no country in the world has had such a growth in electric car sales as Norway," OFV director Oyvind Solberg Thorsen said in a statement.
"We may already have half a million electric cars in total in the Norwegian fleet as early as March. This starts to approach 20 per cent of a total of 2.8 million passenger cars. This is quite formidable," he added.
Norway -- which is also Western Europe's largest oil producer-- has set a goal to have all new cars be zero-emission, meaning electric and hydrogen-powered, by 2025.
To propel the adoption of EVs, they are virtually tax-free in the country, making their prices much more competitive even if other benefits -- such as being exempt from tolls and being able to use lanes reserved for public transport -- have been partly cut back.
The Norwegian EV Association hailed a "milestone" and said it expected sales of electric vehicles to account for over 80 percent of new cars in 2022 as new models were brought to market.
"For the first time a fully electric car brand is topping the list of the new cars sold in Norway," secretary general of the Norwegian EV Association, Christina Bu, was quoted on the organisation's website in hailing Tesla's showing.
Older brands, such as Germany's Volkswagen and Japan's Toyota were also among the top sellers.