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Nebbenes supercharger with 44 stalls. World's biggest Supercharger at time of construction. Photo courtesy of David Orr.

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What Does the Future Hold for EVs? Look at Norway

If you want to know what the future holds for electric vehicles, you don’t need a crystal ball, you just have to look at Norway. I tell people that Australia will be like the UK in 2 years’ time and like Norway in 4 — depending on how fast we move. So, what is Norway like now? What impacts has the EV rEVolution had on its auto market?

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% of new car sales that are fully electric by year (blue = passenger cars; orange = vans and trucks). Note that trucks are way behind.

My friend David Orr has just returned from visiting his son in Oslo and this is what he told me:

“I had to smile as I walked around Oslo — I was now living in Australia’s future. There are still some petrol cars on the road, but you really have to search for them.” He was waiting at the lights to cross a busy road, everything quiet and green. Electric car after electric car passed him. Then he heard a rumble and looked around to see a petrol car. “They are head-turners now because they are so rare on Oslo’s streets.”

As he walked down the street, he saw lots of cars he did not recognize — all shapes and sizes, and he reckons that 2 out of 3 were electric. It seemed that Teslas made up about 20% of the cars on road. “Norway is the land of the EVs,” David enthuses. He saw a lot more Model S on the road than we do in Australia, and the Model Ys seem to be catching up to Model 3s very quickly.

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Nebbenes supercharger with 44 stalls. World’s biggest Supercharger at time of construction. Photo courtesy of David Orr.

The center of Oslo is beautiful, green, and clean thanks to a congestion tax reducing the traffic there. The main streets have been made into malls with very limited vehicle access. It is quiet. There’s no dragging off at the lights, no thrum of ice engines. The impact of Norway’s drive to be green is economy wide, he says. All the buses are electric, and even the postmen ride electric scooters. David saw an electric car ferry and his son told him about the electric vehicles that groom the snow-covered roads in winter.

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Electric snow groomer. Photo courtesy of David Orr.

There are chargers everywhere, in council car parks and in shopping centers. There are even chargers in the dedicated parking spots for the disabled and at taxi ranks. There are a few Jaguar I-PACE vehicles set up as taxis and they are trialing wireless charging from the road. It was common to find 20-bay charging stations in underground car parks. Kerbside charging is provided — they look like parking meters. Outside the local school, teachers have access to pay-for-use chargers while they work.

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Charger at disabled parking spot. Photo courtesy of David Orr.

Service stations display the cost of electricity along with the price of diesel and petrol. David saw one servo that advertised charging at 225 kW. Norway is home to a Supercharger station which takes 44 cars at a time — at the time of its commissioning, it was the largest in the world. The local Hungry Jack’s has a 20-bay Tesla Supercharger as well as 4 bays for non-Tesla charging. Charge your car while you eat your burger. Hungry Jack’s is starting to install chargers in Australia now. This is a move into the future!

While overseas, David went to the local golf club for a game. Starting early, he parked the Tesla Model S and proceeded to tee off. After the game, he returned to the car park to find it was full of EVs. Bit of a shock, until you realize what country you are in.

David’s son drives a 2015 Model S with free Supercharging for life, so, as he says, “I knew Teslas were ‘for real’ from the very early days. I jumped on board with a Model 3 in 2019 and have been delighted to see the growth in all EVs since then. I really think that the future of motoring — indeed, greening our whole transport sector — is bright, especially if you look at what countries like Norway have done.”

Related story: Norway’s Plugin Market Share Drops, BEVs Still Growing

 
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Written By

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].

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