One of the top presentations at EVBox’s first annual rEVolution conference earlier this year came from Sture Portvik, project leader for electrical vehicles and charging infrastructure in the City of Oslo’s Agency for Urban Environment. He was also speaking in Paris recently for Autonomy, where I was again present to moderate some panel discussions.
As you know, Norway is far and away the EV market leader (relatively speaking), with 9 out of the top 10 best-selling cars now electrified (fully electric, plug-in hybrid, or conventional hybrid). Nearly 50% of new car sales have been plug-in cars in recent months. The success is not due to just one financial incentive, but to an ecosystem of e-mobility support and awareness. Check out Sture’s presentations below (combined into one video) to get a better understanding of Norway’s EV leadership. And thank EVBox and Autonomy for this CleanTechnica exclusive.
I would definitely not skip watching this video, but if you do, below is a short summary of some key points. (And here’s a full PDF of Sture’s Amsterdam presentation.)
Vehicle availability is absolutely key. Sture highlighted that the initial Nissan LEAF hitting the market was a momentous point, was the arrival of the Tesla Model S. Something I think that is often overlooked, however, is how much the broad availability of diverse plug-in models helps the Norwegian market. This is due in good part to Norway’s strong demand for EVs, but it also facilitates more purchases, and it certainly isn’t the case in the vast majority of markets. As noted at the top, 9 of the top 10 cars in Norway (in terms of sales) are now electrified. The variety in demand reinforces that people have diverse consumer preferences. Interestingly, the one model that’s not electrified is in a class with very little plug-in vehicle representation.
Some of the biggest incentives have been free access to bus lanes, toll roads, and parking spaces. The bus lanes got so clogged with electric cars, however, that they had to change policy. They started requiring that more than one person be in an electric car for it to get access to the lane. Sture notes one humorous story that resulted — a guy driving in the lane with an inflatable doll in the passenger seat. Yes, he got cited.
All of that said, price is massively important. Sture notes how the high taxes on gas and diesel cars, which EVs are exempt from, helps to stimulate EV sales. (Duh.)
EV charging infrastructure is also critical, but while Norway has been aggressively installing EV charging stations, it is still playing catchup and struggling to avoid the disaster of long lines at stations — which could single-handedly shut down market growth. As it turns out, the EV market has risen so fast that the country, and especially major cities like Oslo, just can’t keep up.
Along the way, the EV leaders in the country have learned that particular situations and people need more support than others. More targeted charging policies now focus on reserved charging, charging in parking garages, and fast charging outside major cities (along corridors).
A short-term diesel car ban in Oslo (stimulated by air pollution) quickly boosted EV sales in the city as well this year (and thus in the country overall). Expect to see more of that in the coming years. …
Check out more exclusive CleanTechnica videos from rEVolution 2017 here: