Oslo aims to become carbon neutral by 2050xviii and 60% of the city’s emissions currently come from transportation. Despite unique challenges ranging from market conditions to topography and weather, Oslo has transitioned towards a sustainable transportation system through their high uptake of LEVs. Notably, this transition has taken place in only a few years, and was primarily achieved through a comprehensive incentives programme. Oslo’s incentives programme (which also includes national incentives) comprises zero rated purchasing tax and no VAT charged on electric vehicles, free pass on toll roads, access to bus and taxi lanes, free parking on municipal parking spaces, and free travel on ferries that are part of the national highway system.
LEV incentives were put in place, and at the same time Oslo increased its LEV infrastructure by adding over 1,000 charging stations. As a result of this multifaceted strategy, the number of registered electric vehicles in the Oslo area increased from 4,000 in 2012 to close to 30,000 by the end of 2015. Oslo has also seen a 100% increase in the number of electric vehicles passing through the Oslo central toll ring since 2012.xix In addition, across Norway, the total number of registered hybrid vehicles increased by more than 250% last year.xx Today, Oslo has the world’s highest number of EVs per inhabitant. According to the City of Oslo, the uptake of LEVs, encouraged through incentive policies and programmes, has contributed to a 35% reduction in average CO2 emissions since 2012.
Reasons for success
By providing favourable user incentives that relate directly to the challenges and realities of vehicle use in the area, such as dealing with congestion, Oslo was able to encourage residents to purchase LEVs for private use. By providing these usage and purchasing incentives, as well as the concerted development of LEV infrastructure, LEVs became a more cost-effective options.
When/why a city might adopt an approach like this
Cities that face a variety of challenges to LEV uptake (like high purchasing costs, congestion, and accessible charging) can use Oslo’s comprehensive approach to simultaneously address many obstacles and ensure a significant LEV scale-up.
C40 Good Practice Guides
C40's Good Practice Guides offer mayors and urban policymakers roadmaps for tackling climate change, reducing climate risk and encouraging sustainable urban development. With 100 case studies taken from cities of every size, geography and stage of development around the world, the Good Practice Guides provide tangible examples of climate solutions that other cities can learn from.
All references can be found in the full guide.