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Jan. 8, 2021, 1:33 p.m. EST

Electric-car sales jump to record 54% market share in Norway in 2020 but Tesla loses top spot

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By Callum Keown

Electric-car sales jumped to a record 54% of all new-vehicle sales in Norway last year, but Tesla’s Model 3 lost its place as the country’s bestselling vehicle despite a late surge.

It is the first time a country has recorded more sales of electric cars than those powered by petrol, diesel and hybrid engines over an entire year.

The Norwegian government plans to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2025, and has used incentives and tax breaks in recent years to encourage an electric-car boom.

Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) made up 54.3% of new passenger-car sales in 2020, up from 42% in 2019, according to figures published by the Norwegian Road Federation (OFV) on Tuesday.

December was a bumper month for car sales in the Nordic country — the best on record — as more than 20,000 new vehicles were registered. Of these, 66.7% were electric vehicles and 4,232 were Tesla Model 3s — more than 20% of all vehicle sales in the month.

Read: Tesla gets big boost over plans for first European factory

However, Tesla’s /zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA -0.99% popular midsize model — the bestselling car in Norway in 2019 — fell to second place in 2020, losing out to Volkswagen’s /zigman2/quotes/206919008/delayed XE:VOW -1.06% Audi e-tron with Volkswagen’s ID.3 in third.

Following a record year for Tesla in Norway in 2019, the U.S. company faced stiffer competition in 2020 as its rivals launched a number of electric cars, while the COVID-19 pandemic also affected sales.

December saw something of a comeback, with Tesla selling 4,232 cars — 54% of its annual 7,770 total. The company is also set to launch its Model Y electric SUV in Norway later this year, Reuters reported.

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