Norway is currently considered the greenest country in Europe and in the whole world thanks to its massive adoption of electric vehicles. However, not a lot of people know that this movement was sparked in 1989 by an electric-converted Fiat Panda and a famous Norwegian pop group.
Solely last year, we reported that the Scandinavian country registered 80,000 EVs, which equals 148 electric cars per 10,000 people. That represents an incredible 261% more than any other country in the world per capita.
Senior Scientist at the CICERO Center, Robbie Andrew has pointed out in a lengthy Twitter thread that the country’s all-electric revolution is traceable back to the pop group A-ha when in 1989 two of its members, Morten Harket and Magne Furuholmen, were in Switzerland with environmentalist Frederic Hauge, president of Bellona.
They came across a converted Fiat Panda with a very limited range of only 45 kilometres and decided to bring it back to Norway. However, back then since electric cars could not be registered, the Panda was not legally allowed to be driven.
The group then had the brilliant idea to register the car as a diesel motorhome for two reasons:
the Panda had a propane-fuelled heater, just like motorhomes, and second, at the time, diesel cars paid registration fees based on how far they were driven. They believed that the criteria should be applied to EVs too.
The group also managed to basically make the Panda the first fully-fledged electric vehicle to not pay government registrations fees. In fact, the group, decided to not pay the one-off registration tax in 1990, and ever since then electric cars have been exempted from paying it.
Also, they decided that since they were driving an electric car, they should not be paying road tolls. So, every time they passed through toll stations they did not pay. They received multiple fines which they disregarded.
Incredibly, the government confiscated the car, because of the unpaid fines, and auctioned it. However, since no one wanted to buy a car with only 45 miles of range, the A-ha musicians managed to buy the car back. This situation apparently happened multiple other times, until in 1996 the Norwegian government gave up and de facto exempted all future electric cars from paying road tolls.
In over 30 years everything has changed in the country as in 2020, 54% of all the new registrations were all-electric vehicles. We also reported how in the month of October, 8 out of 10 new vehicles sales were EVs. Thanks to the initial efforts of A-ha, Norway is now a leader in the all-electric revolution.