Tesla Best-Selling Private Car in Iceland Last Year

Tesla electric cars were the best-selling passenger vehicle for individual consumers in 2022, RÚV reports. This is part of a larger pattern: more than half of new cars sold to individuals in 2022 were electric cars. Tesla did not, however, sell the most cars overall in Iceland. That distinction belongs to Toyota, although cars sold to rental companies accounted for 73% of its sales last year.

Changing patterns and incentives related to energy consumption have significantly shifted the automobile market in Iceland. According to María Jóna Magnúsdóttir, executive director of the Automotive Industry Association, last year was the seventh highest year for automobile sales in the country since 1972.

“It’s gone pretty well, in spite of great disasters around the world; car sales here have been good,” she remarked. “We’re naturally seeing a huge spike in the sale of electric cars, especially to individuals. They’re choosing electric cars just over 50% of the time.”

Toyota sold the most cars overall, Tesla the most cars for personal use

Just under 16,700 cars were newly registered in Iceland last year. Of these, 7,600 were rental cars.

Toyota is the foremost seller of cars that will be used on the rental market in Iceland. A total of 2,754 Toyota passenger cars were sold last year, the majority of which—or 1,440 cars—were intended as rentals. The remaining 739 Toyotas were sold to individuals.

The manufacturer that sold the second highest number of new cars in Iceland last year was Kia, with 1,800 cars sold. Hyundai was next, with just over 1,400 cars sold. Tesla came in fourth overall, with 1,300 cars sold.

However, if only car sales to individuals are considered, then the rankings shift in Tesla’s favor. Tesla sold 872 cars to individuals last year, followed by Toyota with 739, Kia with 717, and Hyundai with 502 cars sold for personal use. Tesla only sells electric cars, but it is not the only manufacturer that does. Toyota, however, has fewer electric options than its fellow brands.

Overall, nearly 5,600 electric cars were sold in Iceland last year. More diesel cars were sold in 2022 than in 2021 and 2020.

At-home charging only ISK 3 / km

Electric cars are commonly considered to be much cheaper to run and maintain in Iceland, not least because electricity is so much less expensive than petrol.

It’s been estimated that a five-person electric car costs roughly ISK 3/km [$0.021; €0.020/km] if it is charged at home. The price of domestic electricity in Iceland, including distribution charges, is estimated to cost roughly ISK 17 [$0.12; €0.11] per kilowatt-hour. It is more expensive to pay for electricity at fast charging stations and at so-called supercharger stations, though the charging process is, of course, much faster.

How can I buy a cheap second-hand car in Iceland?

Q: Does buying a car require much in the way of paperwork/getting it registered/examined by a mechanic?

I plan on buying one and selling it when I leave (a month or so later), as that’ll be way cheaper than hiring one.

But will this require a huge amount of time and money? Also, is there a good site for browsing for used cars?

Caspian, Western Australia

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A: At the Hekla dealership in Reykjavík, I was told that it will hardly be worth the time and money to buy a used car for such a short period of time. Very few of the used cars they sell cost less than ISK 1 million (USD 7,800, EUR 5,800).

In addition to the price of the car, you have to pay insurances and an automobile tax. It is also questionable that you would be able to sell it again before you leave. With all the used cars currently on the market, that could take time.

If you buy a car in Iceland to use it here, but not just take it out of the country, you have to have a kennitala, an Icelandic ID number, which I believe is only issued to those who live in the country. You can contact the National Registry if you want to check whether there are any exceptions.

If you want to take a look at the used cars currently available at Hekla, they are listed on this website. It is in Icelandic but the information is pretty standard: tegund means “model,” ár refers to the year the car was made, ekinn states how far the car has been driven in kilometers, verð means “price” and tilboðsverð “discount price.” If you click on the make of the car you can see a picture of it.

But the website bilasolur.is is probably the best place to look. It has information about sales agencies and available cars in English. You should contact difference agencies and compare terms and prices.