Electric in Oslo
Oslo is really going for sustainability and aiming to ban cars from the centre of the city as well as cut carbon emissions in half in a mere four years’ time. And Norwegian consumers are clearly up for it too, with plug-in electric vehicles sales snagging a record-breaking 37% market share of the passenger car market in January.
And there were already 100,000 all-electric vehicles on Norwegian roads in December, a pretty impressive metric for a country with a population of just 5.1 million. Incentives have done the job here, including a 25% sales tax exemption that will be in place until 2020. Most streets in Oslo have charging stations, there’s free EV parking across the metro, plus electric vehicles are exempt from toll and ferry fees.
The Tesla Model S, the BMW i3 and the Volvo XC90 are leading the Norwegian EV charge but there’s also the home-grown Buddy Electric car, 1,100 of which are already on the road. The Buddy is built at Økern in Oslo and produced in small series, with the manufacturer giving buyers owners the opportunity to influence the appearance of their new vehicles.
By the way, in the capital Teslas aren’t exotic but operate as regular taxi cabs.
And then there’s the two-wheel angle. Norway is investing a huge $920 million in building bike superhighways in its largest metro areas featuring a batch of wide, two-lane, cycle lanes. The government hopes the initiative will increase the bike’s share of customer journeys by as much as 30%.
This is Norway, so it’s a joined-up project, and the cycle highways are part of the new National Transit Plan. One of the targets of the plan is ensuring that 75% of the country’s buses and half of its trucks are low-emission by 2030. In addition, two-fifths of Norwegian ferries must be low-emission or use biofuels.