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Electric Vehicles in Norway

As you may know, climate change and the challenges that are related partially or completely to this matter attract persons to move toward advanced technology which assists the condition to be environmentally friendlier than before. In the transportation sector, giant steps have been taken to achieve this aim that we can consider the tendency to the Electrical Vehicles (EVs) as one of effective endeavor in this part. Basically, EVs now includes cars, transit buses, trucks of all sizes, and even big-rig tractor-trailers that are at least partially powered by electricity (1). Today, I want to seize this opportunity to talk more about the status of EVs and its spread in Norway as one of the premier countries in this field among not only Europe but also the world.

Almost all European cities have been suffering from air pollution resulting from road traffic, and Oslo is no exception. “Transport accounts for 50 % of greenhouse gas emissions in Oslo. It is also the main source of local air pollution in the city.” The Norwegian government has developed compulsive targets: “the Norwegian government and the EU have drawn up regulations aimed at reducing fossil CO2 emissions from road traffic.”


Moving from fossil-fueled to EVs as a significant perspective has attracted Norway’s attention to focus on in recent years. Although research on EVs commenced in Norway in the 1970s, usage has only begun this gotten going this century. Assistance in reducing local emissions, improving air quality, and reducing noise in the city has been considered as the main consequences which can be resulted in by spreading the EVs’ usage among users in Norway. Moreover, a number of motivators, including exemption from road tolls and lower taxes have been used to attract users’ glances to this critical topic (2).


On behalf of the Ministry of Transport, the energy companies organized a resource group in 2009. It presented a continuous plan of action for the electrification of road transport, which assumed that it would be possible to reach a 10 percent share for EVs and plug-in hybrids in the passenger car fleet in 2020. Marianne Mølmen said that even with the target of 10 %, “we really didn't know what is going to happen in the future.” She mentioned that the technology was still nascent. “At that time [2009] we only had small EVs that were produced in Norway. They were like plastic cars!”. Nevertheless, support came from more than just the government. “The Norwegian EV Association supported their members' endeavors to get the most out of the vehicles, by compiling and making available information on charging facilities. New EV drivers through test drives were recruited. In addition, knowledge transfer on an internet user forum was facilitated by them.” (3)

Norway exempts fully electric vehicles from taxes imposed on those relying on fossil fuels. Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images


Another important discussion is that a consensus about the benefits of EVs has existed among the political parties in Norway. Although there have been some differences across parties around what the incentives should be to get the users’ attention to the EVs’ topic, the government has supported politically this matter to achieve its target in this long-term perspective.

Furthermore, this positive view of the subject of EVs has been observed among citizens. However, there are some challenges that have not been solved properly that I would mention just some of them in this part:

  1. Some Norwegian citizens are concerned with the fact that “the country's vehicle-charging infrastructure had not maintained the same pace with the number of new electric cars on the road.” (4)

  2. To consider EVs as a convincing option, the process of charging them at home must be possible for Norwegians. However, “fewer than five percent of building owners or strata councils in Norway are even considering installing charging infrastructure”. (5)

  3. Although the Manufacturers have kept up with the demand for electric cars, the production of electric vanes has not experienced the same trend. “Norway has not had anywhere near the same success with electric vans as it has had with cars, with sales in the low hundreds. However, this may have to do with the limited market availability of such vehicles.” (5)


On the other hand, a policy that is the combination of financial incentives, free parking/no toll road, access to bus lanes, and charging infrastructure can be considered as the incentives of EVs spread in Norway. Moreover, a special car taxing system in Norway that provides a suitable condition for the EVs users should not be ignored in this success. (6)


In sum, the future outlook for EVs in not only Norway but also all around the world is hopeful. The main factor that assures the success of EVs relates to the ever-growing volume of investment in the development of new automotive technology. Although Norway is a significant early market, it is far too small to be able to be profitable for the big automakers. Therefore, serious determination of other countries in investing in EVs can directly assist EVs’ success and spread in Norway. Undoubtedly, we should eagerly wait for hearing great news about this issue in near future!


References:

(6) MalviK. H, Wensaas. G, Hannisdahl. O, the future is electric! The EV revolution in Norway – explanations and lessons learned

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