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.

Reykjavík City Announces Expansion of Paid Parking Zones

architecture downtown Reykjavík houses square

Changes will soon be made to paid parking zones in Reykjavík, the City announced yesterday. A recent tally indicates that parking spaces just outside paid-parking zones are heavily used.

Heavy use of spaces just outside paid parking zones

Yesterday, the City announced that it will be expanding paid parking zones in Reykjavík. According to a press release, a recent tally has indicated that spaces just beyond paid parking zones are heavily used. This gives “occasion to expand paid-parking zones in specific areas” and in accordance with regulations. The expansion will mainly apply to Zone 2 parking spaces but also to Zone 1 and 3.

At a meeting on Wednesday, the City’s Environment and Planning Branch (Umhverfis- og skipulagsráð) approved a proposal, which has subsequently been referred to City Council. The proposal has also been put to the capital area police where it met with approval. The proposal will, however, not come into effect prior to approval and publication by City Council. Appropriate signage and metres must also be installed within new paid-parking zones.

The following parking zones will be expanded:

  • Parking Zone 1
    • Grettisgata between Rauðarárstígur and Snorrabraut
  • Parking Zone 2
    • Hrannarstígur
    • Öldugata, Bárugata, Ránargata, and Vesturgata (between Ægisgata and Stýrimannastígur
    • Stýrimannastígur
    • Blómvallagata
    • Ásvallagata and Sólvallagata (east of Hofsvallagata)
    • Hávallagata (between Hofsvallagata and Blómvallagata)
    • Tjarnargata (from no. 33 to Hringbraut)
    • Bjarkargata
    • Baldursgata (between Freyjugata and Skólavörðustígur)
    • Lokastígur and Þórsgata up to Skólavörðustígur
    • The area between Laugavegur, Rauðarárstígur and Bríetartún
  • Parking Zone 3
    • Baldursgata and Bragagata (from Nönnugata to Freyjugata)
    • Freyjugata (from Baldursgata to Njarðargata)

As noted by the press release, residents within paid parking zones can apply for residential cards. Conditions being met, holders of residential cards are allowed to park within applicable parking zones for free.

Possible Changes to Car Rentals, Including Limits on Mileage and Age

winter tires reykjavík

Minister of Culture and Trade Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir stated in an interview yesterday with RÚV that changes may be coming for the rental car industry in Iceland.

The statement came in response to the Ministry of Tourism’s efforts to improve education for foreign drivers on Icelandic roads following the tragic 2018 accident by Núpsvötn, in which three British citizens died.

Iceland’s unique landscape is of course a major driver of the tourism industry, but many foreign tourists may not be prepared for the road conditions in Iceland.

Read more: Núpsvötn Car Accident Among Worst in Icelandic History

The car in involved in the Núpsvötn accident had been driven some 340,00km and was 12 years old. Now, politicians and members of the tourism industry are reconsidering what regulations should apply to rental cars to prevent future accidents.

“We will refer this to a working group within the ministry that has been working to promote increased security for tourists in this country. We will use this terrible incident to improve regulations and possible legislation to ensure further safety in this country,” Lilja stated to RÚV.

Hendrik Berndsen, chairman of Hertz in Iceland and chairman of the Tourism Association’s Car Rental Committee, also expressed the need for better regulation in the rental car industry.

The Tourism Association is responsible for 90% of Iceland’s 24,000 rental cars.

Speaking to RÚV, he called for a limit of 200,000km for rental cars, and a possible limit of 6-8 years.

“It may not be possible to directly blame the car,” he said,  “but is very important that there are the latest cars for drivers who come to the country.”

Robber Targeted Dacia Dusters

Dacia Duster

A man currently in custody for a number of break-ins targeting Dacia Duster models is suspected of targeting the vehicles because they are common among rental car companies. The thief likely counted on finding valuables in travellers’ luggage, RÚV reports.

Over 100 car break-ins were reported in Reykjavík since October, but none since the man was taken into custody. Police used video surveillance footage to identify the accused.

Police say it is clear the man was not working alone, and collaborators were receiving and purchasing the stolen goods he acquired. The police must decide by tomorrow whether to release the man from custody or extend his warrant.

The suspect has previously stolen goods such as cameras, camera equipment, drones, laptops, jackets and glasses.The case is exceptional: car break-ins are generally uncommon in Iceland.

Rental Cars on Summer Tyres Cause Traffic Delays

Cars trapped on the road

Several drivers ran into trouble yesterday in East and Northeast Iceland due to snow and icy roads. Traffic was slow and many drivers of rental cars ran into problems since their cars were equipped with summer tyres that couldn’t handle the difficult driving conditions.

Yesterday, travelling conditions were getting worse and roads through Víkurskarð pass and Öxi were closed. Roads in Northeast Iceland were icy and it snowed in several parts of the area. Search-and-Rescue teams Vopni and Jökull in East Iceland aided tourists yesterday when they couldn’t get any farther on an icy road, mbl.is reports. Their rental car was equipped with summer tyres.

Ill-prepared cars also stopped traffic on route 1 by Vopnafjörður yesterday evening. Some drivers had difficulty getting their cars up a hill where traffic stopped. According to Vilhjálmur Vernharðsson, most of the drivers who had trouble were driving cars equipped with summer tyres. He is a service agent for The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration and spent hours yesterday digging out cars that were stuck, moving them and towing other cars that were blocking traffic.

Martin Norman, a traveller who drove through Möðrudalsöræfi between Egilstaðir and Mývatn yesterday told RÚV that traffic only went 20-30 km per hour and claims to have passed at least six cars that were off the road. He criticised car rentals for renting out cars on summer tyres. He contacted the car rental he had rented a car from who told him that the problem was the law that states that cars can’t be equipped with winter tyres until November 1, under penalty of fines.

Gold Car told RÚV that police had been fining drivers in Reykjavík for driving cars on winter tyres. It wasn’t until late yesterday that the police in the capital area issued a statement that they would not be fining drivers in the capital area due to icy roads in other areas of the country. As soon as the statement was made, the car rental started changing the tyres on their cars. Customers who contact them are directed to contact the nearest garage to have their tyres changed.

According to Sævar Sævarsson, COO of Blue Car Rental, which runs Gold Car, car rentals usually run into problems around this time of year, torn between following the law and ensuring the safety of drivers. “This weather is unseasonably early but this discussion usually takes place in October and again in April when it’s time to change the tyres again. ”