The electric vehicle capital

Icons use case study city info



Icons use case study main actors

Main actors

City Government, National Government, other

Icons use case study project area

Project area

Whole City/Administrative Region

Icons use case study duration


Ongoing since 2008/01

With 60% of emissions in Oslo coming from the transport sector, encouraging people to use electric vehicles (EVs) has the potential to make a real difference. In 2008, Oslo adopted a ten-point plan to reduce CO2 emissions, to which the large scale introduction of EVs plays a big part.

With 6,615 electric vehicles registered in Oslo, residents clearly find driving one a convenient option in the city. Oslo has gone to great lengths to ensure that electric car drivers have everything they need to make their journeys as comfortable as possible, including frequent charging points, dedicated parking spaces and access to bus lanes. This is part of Oslo’s ambitious greenhouse gas reduction plans for 2030, towards which the transport sector is a big contributor. The city liaised with environmental stakeholders to develop the best approach to increasing the uptake of electric vehicles, including consulting on the quantity and location of charging points. The city provides grants to ensure all municipal vehicles are emissions free by 2015, while the removal of VAT on electric cars at national level has helped reinforce the measures being taken at city level.

Originally published by EUROCITIES, the network of 130 European cities - PDF:

Sustainable Development Goals

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts


This project was shortlisted for the 'EUROCITIES Awards' in 2014 in the following category: Innovation.

Oslo, Norway

Size and population development
647,676 permanent residents (as of 2015). The population of Oslo is increasing at a fast rate (2% annually) making of Oslo one of the most rapidly growing European Capital.

Population composition
71% of Oslo inhabitants are Norwegian (as of 2011)

Main functions
Capital City; economic and governmental centre of Norway; hub of Norwegian trade, banking, industry and shipping

Main industries / business
Energy, ICT, maritime industry

Political structure
The City Council is the governing authority in Oslo and comprises five standing committees.

Administrative structure
Oslo is both a county and a municipality.

The city’s targets set out a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, with the ultimate goal of becoming climate neutral by 2050. To kick start the adoption of EVs, Oslo’s first move was to install 400 free charging points with reserved parking for EVs across the city. This was done between 2008 and 2011, using dedicated funds set aside by the city. This not only makes driving an EV attractive and convenient, but also helps raise public awareness and increase understanding about EVs.

In 2013, the city went a step further. It decided that all municipal vehicles should be emissions free by 2015, and allocated €6.1 million in interest-free loans for agencies to use when replacing vehicles.

Together with the national government, Oslo has put in place a number of incentives that have helped increase the uptake of EVs in and around the city. These include:

  • the possibility for EV drivers to use bus lanes (introduced in 2004)
  • reserved parking for EVs, free public parking, and free public charging spots (2008)
  • free use of toll roads (2009)
  • removing VAT from sales, removing registration fees and reducing annual fees (2011)

A major mover in this development has been working with the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association. Oslo has met with a number of EV associations over the years to determine where EV drivers need charging points and to get their views on technological advances. Oslo involved environmental organisations in the process too, to get their input on how to make EVs fit into the wider transport plan. The city also arranged a ‘fossil free day’ with these organisations, including a public exhibition to showcase and allow public test driving of zero emissions vehicles.

The project was funded by the municipality with a total cost of around €3.7m to cover the installation of the charging points. It also set up the fund for interest-free loans, and established a subsidy for private companies, residential complexes and shopping centres wishing to install charging points for EVs. They can receive up to €1,200 per charging point, and so far 323 of these privately established points exist throughout Oslo.

As a result of these measures, the city has recorded an increase of over 2,000 EVs on the road between 2012 and 2013, nearly doubling the sales of EVs. In October 2013, an EV topped the sales list for the first time – the Nissan LEAF – followed by the Tesla Model S in December that year. This trend continued into 2014, with EVs making up 20% of all new cars sold in Oslo.

The total number of EVs in Oslo is now up to 7,236 and in the whole Oslo region, the total number is up to 15,253. There are currently over 500 EV charging points in the city, and Oslo hopes to increase this to 700 by the end of the year, and to 900 by March 2015.

Cities in action - The electric vehicle capital of the world, Making EVs the right choice - EUROCITIES, November 2014.

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