Norway began promoting electric vehicles from the 1990s, which is why they are living a decade ahead of other countries in this regard. Norway has the most number of electric vehicles sales than any country and last year 80% of their new car sales comprised electric vehicles. Already living in the electric vehicle future, the country is much quieter with cleaner air. And with abundant hydropower supply, their electricity grid does not collapse with increased demand.
In the service area operated by Circle K. their EV charging stations have outnumbered gasoline pumps. Circle K. is a retail chain based in Texas. Last year about 80% of new car sales in Norway were electric. With this, the country marks the rapid shift from gas cars to EVs. In 2025, the country is set to end the sales of internal combustion engine cars.
The company Circle K. is using the data collected from Norway to learn how to serve electric car owners in the United States and Europe. This retail chain is now owned by a Montreal-based company, Alimentation Couche-Tard. It has more than 9,000 stores in North America.
EV owners in Norway are spending more time at Circle K. because obviously charging your EV is a time-consuming process.
The country began promoting EVs in the 1990s to support Think, a homegrown electric vehicle start-up. It was once owned by Ford Motors for a few years. At that time, Value-added and import taxes and highway tolls were not applicable to battery-powered vehicles.
The government also subsidized fast charging stations in Sweden. Jim Rowan, the chief executive of Volvo Cars, says, “The combination of incentives and ubiquitous charging “took away all the friction factors.”
These policies and early awareness have put Norway a decade ahead of other countries. With the new Biden administration, the USA aims for 50% of new-vehicles sales to be electric by 2030. But Norway already achieved this milestone in 2019.
Becoming the leading country with the highest number of EVs, the citizens are also enjoying cleaner air and a peaceful environment. Greenhouse Gas emissions in Oslo, Norway have reduced 30% since 2009. They achieved this without any mass unemployment of gas station workers or auto mechanics plus none of the electric grid has collapsed.
Some corporate executives and lawmakers consider using EV and other measures as a grim sacrifice to the present lifestyle. But Christina Bu, secretary general of the Norwegian E.V. Association, representing the EV owners, says, “With E.V.s, it’s not like that. It’s actually something that people embrace.” She embraces the electric vehicle future they are living in.
Sales of electric vehicles from Chinese companies like BYD and Xpeng are also on rise. Petter Hellman, the chief executive of Moller Mobility said, “Traditional brands would regain ground because customers trust them, and they have extensive service networks. But clearly Tesla has shaken the industry.”
Not just EVs, but the country is focused on measuring its CO2 emissions. Near the waterfront in Oslo, metal pipes extend out from the roof of a prefabricated shed. This place is a few feet away from the 6-lane highway.
The structure is next to a bike path and a marina, and measures the pollution caused by the passing traffic. Norway has the most number of electric vehicles but still, this infrastructure measures the pollution caused by non-EVs still running the streets.
Referring to nitrogen oxides, Tobias Wolf, Oslo’s chief engineer for air quality says, “We are on the verge of solving the NOx problem.” With increased EV ownership levels of NOx, smog caused by burning of gasoline and diesel, asthma and other respiratory disorders have decreased largely.
Norway’s power grid is holding up fine to meet increasing power demand and also helps the country to generate abundant hydropower. With increased EV owners, there is a considerable rise in electricity demand. According to the calculations of the E.V. Associations most EV owners charge their cars at night when both power and demand are low.
Electric vehicles are not taking people’s jobs, instead they are creating new job opportunities. There was a former steel plant 55 miles south of Oslo in Fredrikstad, which was converted into a battery recycling center. Old workers are still working there, but now they are dismantling battery packs.
Also, the plastic shred machine now serves as battery shredder. This factory is owned by Hydrovolt, a joint venture of Norsk Hydro, an aluminum producer, and Northvolt, a battery maker. CEO of Hydrovolt, Peter Qvarfordt says, “If we can take the active material that already is within the product and create new ones, then we create a shortcut.”
Taking Norway as an example, we cannot deny the benefits of EV. Though there are some drawbacks like unreliable chargers and long waiting periods to charge your car, this is what we need to adapt to reverse the damage CO2 emission had done.
As you know, Norway has the most number of electric vehicles and the country is looking forward to tackling climate change and aims to achieve net-zero emission by 2030.
In this run, by year-end, all city buses will be electric. Plus, the construction industry is also targeted by bidding on public projects to find a way to use electricity-powered equipment instead of biofuels.
They are already using some of these and incorporating them as much as possible as it would also reduce noise pollution to a large extent.