Continuing and nearly at the end of our interview series in advance of our West Meets East: Charging Central & Eastern Europe’s Electromobility Revolution conference* (part of our Cleantech Revolution Tour conference series), below is an interview with Morten Edvardsen, senior policy advisor at Norsk elbilforening (the Norway EV Association).
If you are curious about the hottest electric car market in the world (by far), I think this is an awesome read. And why wouldn’t you be curious about Norway’s leadership!
1. Norway is clearly the star of the electric vehicle stage. Or maybe that’s Tesla and Norway is the backdrop for the most exciting scenes? 😀 It is exciting to see Norway’s EV market share climb year after year — and with that growth seeming to follow a well known J-curve or S-curve shape.
What do you expect Norway’s electric car market share (fully electrics and PHEVs) to be in 2018? 2019? 2020?
The Norwegian EV association has a goal of 400,000 EVs in Norway by 2020. Today, we have around 125,000. By the end of 2017, we need to reach 150,000, 210,000 in 2018, and 290,000 in 2019. If the government keeps the incentives we have, speeds up the building of infrastructure for normal charging and conditions to build up a commercial market for fast charging, it is possible to reach. The politicians have agreed that from 2025 all new cars sold in Norway should be zero emission. To get there, we need to start to really speed up the sales to make EVs possible to use all over the country.
2. One of the wonderful things I see Norway EV leaders like yourself doing now is going around Europe and the world to share your positive experiences and lessons learned.
What are a few of the biggest problems or hurdles you see other places (countries and cities) running into again and again?
Lack of incentives that make EVs favorable in price and use. The incentives are not broad enough, it’s the sum of incentives that makes the Norwegian EV policy a success.
3. Much attention is put on Norway’s EV incentives, but one of the most interesting presentations I’ve ever seen at an EV conference (at EVS27 in Barcelona) came from a top Nissan exec who emphasized that the biggest factor in Norway’s rapid EV adoption (10–15% of the market back then) was broad EV awareness in the country that stemmed from decades of work and strong modern approaches to raising EV awareness.
Can you speak a bit more about what you see as unique about Norway in terms of awareness and awareness raising?
People often say that they were inspired by family, friends, or colleagues to by an EV. EV owners are generally very, very happy with their car. We run a survey called “Elbilisten,” or “The EV owner” — in this year’s edition, 95 per cent of EV drivers said they are very pleased with their car. The word gets around, media writes about new sales records, and politicians and NGOs talks about how EVs are one of the most important efforts Norway makes internationally when it comes to climate policy. And you see EVs all over, due to the license plate that carries the letters EL or EK, so EVs are easy to spot.
4. Norway is packed full of EV incentives, and I definitely think it’s that broad “ecosystem” approach to electric revolution that makes the market so hot, but if you had to choose just 3 key incentives, what would they be?
Free passage in toll roads
5. Clearly, the market is changing rapidly as “next-gen” electric cars come to the market — Opel Ampera-e, Tesla Model 3, next-gen Nissan LEAF, etc. The interesting thing about Norway is that it has a lot more EV choice than most places, and the market split is more balanced and interesting as a result. How do you see the market transitioning as next-gen EVs roll out? In particular …
5A. Do you think there will still be a strong market for EVs with 100-150 miles of range (US EPA rating)?
Norway is a long, stretched country, and people want to use their car also to get to their cabin. In cold weather, the battery capacity reduces — and there is a lot of cold weather in Norway — so we need cars with long range. We need family sized cars. Over half of the Norwegian car market is larger cars — till now, only Tesla is in these two categories. The car manufactures need to provide these cars as well, with long range. If they don’t, we won’t reach mass market.
5B. Do you think a few cars will really rise high above the crowd and crush the less competitive players?
The big car manufacturers needs to deliver. If not, someone new will come and take over this marked. Just think of Tesla, and remember that China has a huge car industry that isn’t locked up in fossil car production.
5C. Do you think public EV charging needs and infrastructure will change much?
The key to success is charging at home. If people live in tenant buildings in large cities where parking is difficult, it is important to have public accessible chargers. It is important to have destination chargers at parking spaces like malls, public service offices, hospitals, garages, etc.
5D. Do you think plug-in hybrids will retain some portion of the market or just completely fade away?
When EVs comes in all segments and with longer range, the need for plug-in hybrids will fade away.
5E. Do you think the market will heavily shift toward EVs designed electric from the ground up (Tesla options, Nissan LEAF, BMW i3, Opel Ampera-e, etc.) or retain a strong interest in the VW e-Golfs, Kia Soul EVs, and VW e-ups of the world?
Just look at VW that has built up a new platform for EVs in the ID series. Volvo is doing the same, and there are manufacturers in China that started up for building EVs. This is totally changing the car industry. The companies who don’t board this train will lose.
*In case you’ve somehow missed it, CleanTechnica and GreenWay are co-hosting a Central & Eastern Europe EV charging conference in Warsaw November 6–8. We have EV charging leaders coming in from the Netherlands, Norway, Costa Rica, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, Hungary, Finland, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, the UK, and the USA to discuss ways of advancing EV charging and EV adoption both in the region and globally. We’ve also convened a working group to create a white paper on EV charging guidelines for cities. Join us in Warsaw! (Jump straight to the tickets here.)
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