Norway could complete its transition towards having only fully electric cars for sale as early as April 2022, according to the Norwegian Automobile Federation (NAF) as reported by Drive.

Data from the Norway’s road traffic information council (OVF) has shown that the final internal combustion-engined car in the country will be sold in April next year, or three years ahead of schedule in terms of its government’s plans for the phasing out of sales of new vehicles with petrol or diesel engines.

The OVF has shown that purely internal combustion cars made up just 9.66% of new car sales in the first eight months of this year. Of these, petrol cars comprised 4.93% and diesel cars made up 4.73%. The previous year saw ICE cars account for 21%, and more than 50% in 2017, where petrol and diesel cars sold in equal proportions (25%).

However, this data from the country’s road traffic information council includes hybrids as well as plug-in hybrids, notes Drive, however these account for less than 10% of new car sales in Norway, the publication added.

Norway aimed for a ban on petrol and diesel car sales in 2025. It now appears to be arriving three years ahead of time…

“[Sales of] new petrol and diesel cars are dying out in Norway. If the trend continues from the last four years, sales will be over during the first half of 2022. It is far earlier than even the most optimistic electric car enthusiasts thought possible,” said Thor Egil Braadland, Norwegian government representative within the Norwegian Automobile Federation.

It isn’t an absolute dead-end for internal combustion in Norway, though. “I do not think sales of pure petrol and diesel cars go completely to zero, because there are always some with needs that only such cars cover,” said Norwegian National Association of Car Importers (BIL) Erik Andresen.

“But the small petrol cars will be replaced first. The bigger and more powerful the car, the greater the chance that there are customers who need one of these that are constantly delivered with a petrol or diesel engine,” Andresen said. Braadland concurs, and says that purchasing a petrol or diesel vehicle will still be possible as “there will still be a good second-hand market for these cars for many years.”

This is backed up by data from Norway, which shows that seven out of every eight cars sold in the country have been used cars. Of 357,176 ownership registration changes in 2021 so far, electric vehicles accounted for just 12% of that sum.

…however petrols and diesel are still going strong on the Norwegian used market

Most people in Norway still own a used petrol or diesel vehicle, with petrol or diesel internal combustion vehicles accounting for 85% of cars on Norwegian roads. “But new car sales show that we see the beginning of the end for the fossil fuel-powered car,” said Braadland.

According to Drive, its domestic market audience of Australia starkly contrast with Norway for its demand of electrified vehicles as compared to internal combustion; pure EVs and PHEVs make up just 0.73% of all new cars sold Down Under, and petrol-powered cars alone comprise 55% of the new car market, it said. In Australia, diesels make up 33% of the market, with conventional hybrids comprise just 6.7%.

For Norway, although tax incentives initiated the shift in demand towards electric vehicles, it is the car manufacturers who are now driving demand for electrification, according to the NAF.

“The big drivers to electrification now are increasing selection, longer range, lower battery prices and the EU’s climate policy. All the major car manufacturers now have a plan to electrify the car fleet. They have decided,” Braadland said of the shift.