In what environmentalists will hope is a harbinger of things to come, sales of electric cars have reached record levels in Norway, thanks largely to friendly tax incentives and the arrival of Tesla's Model 3.

Norway leads the world in electrifying its car market and has done for some time, with the cars exempted from the taxes that accompany diesel and gasoline vehicle sales. The International Energy Agency calculated the market share of EVs (inclusive of both battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids), to be 39 percent in 2017, far ahead of Sweden in second place with 6.3 percent and the US with 1.2 percent.

Of that, fully electric cars made up 20.8 percent and rose to 31.2 percent in 2018, according to Reuters, and things are only looking up from there. The latest figures from Norway's Road Traffic Information Council reveal that zero-emission cars hit a record high market share in March, with 58.4 percent (four of these were hydrogen cars, the rest, fully electric). This is the first time that more than half of the cars sold in the Norwegian market were fully electric.

And Tesla's Model 3 accounted for almost half of the 10,732 zero-emission vehicles registered, with 5,315 hitting the roads of Norway in March. This will sit very well with Tesla, which only gained approval to begin shipping its Model 3 to Europe in January and will be banking on success in new markets to fund grand expansion plans, including a new Gigafactory in Shanghai.

The Norwegian EV Association expects the market share of electric vehicles to hold at around 50 percent across 2019 as a whole, while the Norwegian government has outlined plans to see only zero-emission vehicles sold in the country by 2025.

"The fresh BEV (battery electric vehicle) records are also good news for the used car market, as ever more cars become available at reasonable price levels," Secretary General Christina Bu of the Norwegian EV Association. "We are now aiming for 1.2 million BEVs on Norwegian roads by 2025, which is a little more than five times today's number."

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