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Published on June 28th, 2017 | by James Ayre

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Norway’s Transition To Electric Vehicles Will Take Several Decades Even In “Optimistic” Scenarios, According To New Study

June 28th, 2017 by  

A new study from a researcher at Norway’s Institute of Transport Economics (TØI) has released a new paper that argues that the transition to electric vehicles will take several decades even in the most optimistic scenarios.

“To measure the speed of transition, Fridstrøm used three indicators: (i) the share of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs); (ii) the average energy consumption per vehicle or freight ton kilometer; and (iii) the average CO2 emissions per vehicle or freight ton kilometer.”

The most optimistic scenario examined in the study showed a 90% market share in Norway for new all-electric vehicles by as soon as 2024, but even in this scenario, a 90% market penetration rate wouldn’t occur until 2039 — about 22 years from now.

Since many people nowadays don’t truly read articles, I want to be extra clear near the top here that the study and scenarios in question relate to the automotive market of Norway, not to the broader global market.

Considering that electric vehicle market share in Norway in now considerably higher than anywhere else in the world, then it would stand to reason that, if you trust the new study, the transition to electric vehicles will take even longer outside of the country.

Such a supposition depends, though, on the expectation of a stable marketplace for autos, gasoline, and fossil fuels in general over the coming decades, and a relatively stable economic environment and geopolitical environment for that matter — things which are very unlikely when you take a look at all of the looming problems related to economically recoverable resources, climate change, agricultural productivity, and water scarcity.

With regard to the new study, here’s more from Green Car Congress:

“Using a stock-flow model based on data from Norway… In his paper in the journal Energy Policy, Lasse Fridstrøm finds that… For light duty freight vehicles (LDVs), the corresponding milestones would be reached in 2026 and 2040, respectively, according to the same optimistic policy scenario.

“The stock-flow modeling approach accounts for the stock of vehicles and the flows into and out of this stock. Based on the Markov chain principle — by which the flows and stock in year t depend only on the stock of the previous year t-1, Fridstrøm’s model projects year-by-year changes in the fleet of vehicles in each category, classified by age, weight and powertrain (energy) technology.

“The four different scenarios differ in terms of new vehicle acquisitions, but are identical in terms of transition rates — set in accordance with the average observed annual rates during 2010–2015. The trend scenario is essentially an extrapolation of the changes in market shares observed between 2010 and 2015.”

That being the case, there will no doubt be some who will object to the findings, but it should be realized here that the rate of electric vehicle adoption in Norway during 2010–2015 was extremely fast — by no means a “conservative” estimate for future growth rates.

As a reminder, however, the Norwegian government is currently aiming for all new passenger car sales to be fully battery electrics or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2025.


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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



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