Norway’s aggressive push for electric-car adoption is leading to record electricity consumption. On Thursday morning, between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., five million Norwegians used as much electricity as 10 million residents of neighboring Sweden, according to Bloomberg
That’s due not only to the large number of EVs on the road, but also the prevalence of electric heating in Norway. Electricity is used to warm as much as 85% of all indoor spaces, according to Bloomberg
Electric car rally in Norway – elbil.no
Those factors have contributed to Norway having the second-highest electricity consumption per capita in the world, according to the World Bank, surpassed only by Iceland. Norway expects electricity consumption to grow 30% by 2040, Bloomberg
However, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), per-capita energy consumption hasn’t risen drastically in recent years—indicating that Norway has been making efficiency gains elsewhere as it takes on all these EVs and charges them on the grid.
Electricity consumption per capita in Norway, 1990-2019 (Credit: International Energy Agency)
Norway has served as an example for widespread EV adoption, achieved through a combination of aggressive incentives, robust charging infrastructure, and favorable local conditions, including short average trip distances. Battery-electric vehicles made up 54% of light-vehicle sales in Norway in 2020, compared to less than 2% for the United States.
Norway’s government also takes marketing for electric cars and hybrids very seriously. In 2020, it cracked down on Lexus for running an ad campaign describing hybrids as “self-charging.”
The country’s enthusiasm for EVs is getting more exposure thanks to a General Motors Super Bowl ad starring Will Ferrell. The commercial declares “We’re coming, Norway,” and spells out that GM will have 30 EVs by 2025. GM, however, doesn’t currently sell any EVs in Norway.
Audi ad – Kristoffer Hivju asserting Norway’s EV supremacy
That’s led to a few responses, including one from Audi, which sold more E-Tron SUVs in Norway in 2020 than it did in the U.S.