Rabea Schif, presenter and model, visits the Norwegian capital Oslo for us to explore the question of why electric mobility is so successful there.
After arriving in Norway, Rabea is quickly impressed by the nature, the fresh air and the modern architecture of the capital: 'Life seems to be more relaxed over here,' she says smilingly. One reason for that might be the multitude of electric cars gliding through the city silently. Together with us, Rabea pursues the question of why e-Mobility is already successful in Norway today. She explores Oslo in a B 250 e and meets up with various speaking partners in the city to learn more about this topic. In her everyday life, Rabea is actually driving a classic car: 'I have always been enthusiastic about cars, but I really like this manual feeling of driving an old car. In fact, I've never driven an electric car before, so I'm very excited about that.'
B 250 e: combined CO₂ emissions: 0 g/km; Power consumption weighted: 17.9–16.6 kWh/100 km.*
Norway has just over five million inhabitants, but roughly 100,000 electric vehicles are already driving on its streets, today. This is quite a high number in relation to the total population. Politicians, companies and media all around the world are therefore looking at this development with interest and try to understand, how Norway managed to leverage e-Mobility. Those looking for answers cannot miss Christina Bu, the General Secretary of the Norwegian electric vehicle association. 'Norway always had very ambitious goals for the reduction of CO₂ emissions. Since traffic and transportation are responsible for a large share of emissions, it is necessary to address this issue.' To support the sale, the purchase of an electric car in Norway is exempt from all taxes including VAT. Furthermore, additional incentives are offered: Drivers of electric cars are allowed to use the bus lanes to move faster through the cities during rush hours, they can park for free in public space and are exempt from paying toll. 'Since the change towards e-Mobility is inevitable, we want to be a part of it rather sooner than later.”
Afterwards, Rabea meets Kari Asheim of the Zero Emission Resource Organization in the center of Oslo. The NGO is seeking to completely replace the use of fossil fuels by renewable energy, and works primarily in political and industrial circles. In a country like Norway, which has large oil and gas deposits and is among the richest countries in the world, this is not a simple task. The work of ZERO includes a project that connects carsharing with e-Mobility and real estate in order to further accelerate the adoption of electric cars: 'The owners can add value to their apartments if they offer e-carsharing directly in the same house. And for the buyers of the apartments, it is even easier to drive electric when they have these cars already in their basement.' She herself is proud to drive an electric car, although she had some concerns in the beginning. But these concerns have quickly been disproved, and after taking the car to Denmark on vacation and moving easily from A to B, she is finally convinced. 'In fact, I’ve only had positive experiences and no negative experiences with my electric car.'
To help electric mobility break through, the appropriate infrastructure is very important too: a network of fast-charging stations or a sufficient number of parking lots with charging stations, for example. Sture Portvik works as project manager e-Mobility for the city of Oslo. Rabea meets him in the world's first parking lot in which only electric cars are allowed. It is located in a harbour district near downtown, in an old bomb shelter below the Akershus Fortress. 'Each parking space has its own plug for charging. It's a great location, right in town, and you walk three minutes to the town hall. Of course, it is free of charge for owners.' In 2015, approximately every fourth vehicle sold in Norway was an electric car. 'The infrastructure in Oslo already favours electric cars. But they must also be affordable, cheap to use and convenient to really achieve an effect.'
So what can we learn from the Norwegians with regards to e-Mobility? “The future has already arrived in Norway”, says Rabea. “It takes a certain will at all levels to help e-Mobility break through. But I believe it is only a matter of time until it will spread all over the world. Norway leads the way, and every journey begins with a first step.”