Oslo: Electric cars’ share of new registrations in Norway surged to a record in 2019, helped by Tesla Inc.’s best year ever in the Nordic country.

Battery electric cars accounted for 42 per cent of new car sales in Norway last year, up from 31 per cent in 2018, the Norwegian Road Federation said on Friday. Tesla sold a record 18,798 cars, led by a flow of its new Model 3 in the first half of the year.

Norway is already the world’s largest adopter of electric cars per inhabitant, thanks to generous incentives such as tax exemptions. The country — also western Europe’s biggest oil and gas producer — has a target of zero-emission cars making up all new sales by 2025.

Volkswagen remained the best-selling brand in 2019, but edged Tesla by only about 150 cars, Oyvind Solberg Thorsen, the head of the Road Federation, said in a webcast presentation. Both brands accounted for about 13 per cent of the total new-car sales of 142,381.

The share of EVs could reach about 50 per cent in 2020, Solberg Thorsen said during the presentation

The Nordic country was Tesla’s third-biggest market by sales in the first nine months of 2019, according to the US carmaker’s third-quarter report. Tesla’s Model 3 was by far the best-selling model in Norway last year with 15,683 cars, taking over the top position from Nissan’s Leaf.