Cheapest New Cars in Norway Are Electric
It bears a slight, unfortunate resemblance to the AMC Gremlin - that funny box of a car produced for just a few years during the 1970s. And it certainly can't hold a candle to the sleek new Tesla. But Norway's electric car Buddy, which ElbilNorge AB just started producing in larger quantities at its factory near Oslo, has a few things going for it.
It's a good example of greener technology that doesn't necessarily cost more, for one. Right now Buddy is available in Norway for about 135,000 Norwegian crowns (US $25,000). That might seem spendy to a US buyer, but in Norway only three gas-driven models - Kia's 'Picanto', Peugeot's 'Urban' and Chevrolet 'Matiz' - are sold for less than the Buddy. And with the cost of gas in Norway at about 11 crowns (US$2) for a liter - that's right, more than US$7 per gallon - an electric car seems like a great investment if you have to drive. But wait - Buddy has some even cheaper competition!
Buddy is the latest generation of an electric car originally made in Denmark in the '90s. ElbilNorge bought the technology in 1999 and has been working on mass manufacturing. Meanwhile, Reva Electric Car Co. of Bangalore, India has a very similar car to the Buddy called the Reva City Car. Reva has been available for about a couple of years in Norway and the UK, but will now be offered to Norwegians in a stripped-down version (mainly no fancy stereo) for 91,000 Norwegian crowns (US$ 16,800).
At a top speed of 75-80 kilometers per hour, Reva and Buddy are really in-city vehicles. Both are officially classified in Norway as "electric four-wheeled motorcycles," that hold three passengers (that's including the driver), can drive between 40 and 80 kilometers on a single charge, depending on speed, and take around six hours to re-charge.
For Norwegian drivers, Buddy and Reva have three other distinct advantages to gas-driven brethren: they aren't subject to taxes or road tolls, they get free in-city parking, and they are allowed to drive in the bus lanes! And coming soon, a third electric car will be fighting for Norwegians' attention when THINK re-introduces its THINK City.