Electrified cars eclipsed the combined total of petrol and diesel models

The growth of electric vehicle sales in Norway continued in 2018, even though the overall market contracted.

While overall sales were down 6.8 per cent to 147,929, electric vehicles continued to gobble up market share as they are exempt from most taxes, and are eligible for free parking and charging points.

Figures supplied by the Information Council for Road Traffic (OFV) show 46,143, or 31.2 per cent, of those new passenger cars were zero emissions vehicles (ZEV).

ZEV passenger car sales were up 13,063 units from 2017, when market share was 20.8 per cent. In 2013 ZEVs accounted for around 5.5 per cent of new cars.

Just 51 of all ZEV models sold in 2018 had a hydrogen fuel cell system. Electric vans also gained sales, up from 862 units in 2017 to 1603 in 2018.

The OFV reports diesel-only vehicles accounted for 17.7 per cent of new passenger car sales, down from 23.1 per cent the year before.

Petrol-only passenger cars took a 22.0 per cent piece of the pie, down from 24.7 per cent. Also down were hybrid vehicles, which shed 6864 units for a 29.0 per cent market share.

Spurred by the switch to the second-generation model, the Nissan Leaf topped the Norwegian charts with 12,303 sales, up 264.6 per cent from the year before.

The all-electric hatch was well clear of the Volkswagen Golf (9859) and BMW i3 (5687). Rounding out the top five were the Tesla Model X (4981) and Mitsubishi Outlander (4323). It's not clear what percentage of Golf and Outlander sales had electrified drivetrains.

The rest of the top ten includes the Toyota Yaris (3856), Volvo XC60 (3687), Tesla Model S (3633), Toyota RAV4 (3627), and Renault Zoe (3141).

In the above bracket are two more pure electric models, while the other cars are available with hybrid or plug-in hybrid drivetrains.

Thanks to the Norwegian government's tax breaks, the Leaf has a starting price of 281,900 krone ($46,350), or just a fraction more than the petrol-powered Qashqai, which kicks off at 280,900 krone ($46,180).

The e-Golf starts from 331,600 krone ($54,520), a relatively small mark up from the 315,300 krone ($51,840) 1.0-litre Golf.

Norway has set a goal of eliminating sales of new cars with internal combustion engines by 2025.