Oslo is a pioneer in green transport solutions. You might have already heard of Oslo being described as the electric vehicle (EV) capital of the world. This is a well-deserved title as in January 2017 the battery-powered cars and plug-in hybrids together accounted for more than 50 pct. of all new car sales in Oslo. The national incentive framework, available solutions and charging infrastructure. The cocktail of success.
Oslo aims to reach near zero greenhouse gas emissions already by 2030. The transport sector is very important for reaching this goal.
Norwegian policy makers have launched their support for electric cars as early as 1990. Even though this was an important move in transforming Norway in today’s world leading market for EVs, sales have only sparked in the past five years or so. Slicker car models with better batteries and features have resulted in more than 100.000 units being on the Norwegian roads today. This makes Norway the country with the highest per capita share of EVs in the world.
This success is primarily due to a range of incentives that eliminated the price advantage of diesel and gasoline cars in Norway. These are some of the bonuses EV drivers have enjoyed over the years:
- No VAT on new cars and no VAT on leasing
- Free public parking
- Driving in bus lanes
- Free access to toll roads and ferries
- Lower annual road taxes
Even though the municipalities now have the power to relax some of these incentives starting from 2017, the goal of Norwegian law-makers is that it should still be cheaper to drive a fossil free or zero emission car compared to a traditional car in the years to come. This intends to support their goal that by 2025 all new cars sold in Norway should produce zero or very low emissions.
Charging infrastructure for EVs in the Oslo region is contributing to breaking the myths that going electric can be a challenge. More than 5.000 charging points are available in the region today, some of which are fast charging stations which take minutes to charge a battery. The newly built charging stations located in parking lots and garages can charge between 28 and 100 cars simultaneously.
While the incentive framework for EVs will be more relaxed in the years to come, it is time for the hydrogen-powered cars to shine as well. Drivers owning a hydrogen car can now benefit from the same incentive package as EV drivers have before 2017. With 50 hydrogen cars on the roads at the moment, the aim is 50.000 units in the years to come.
Refueling infrastructure in the Oslo region includes 5 hydrogen stations today with the last one opened in 2016 by the company Uno-X Hydrogen. This was the first hydrogen station that Uno-X Hydrogen opened in Norway, but 19 other such stations will follow all over the country by 2020.
The Oslo region has a strong research and innovation environment linked to hydrogen production and infrastructure which will support the further development of the field.
Engagement at regional level
While the national policy and incentive framework is the main driver for the transition to a green transport sector in Norway, the contribution from regional actors is very important as well.
From 2020, all public buses, boats and all new taxis will be fossil free in Oslo. The vehicle fleet will include electric vehicles, but also biogas, biofuel and hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Four fuel cell buses are already in operation in Oslo. Between 2017 and 2019 citizens of Oslo will also have the opportunity to travel with 6 new electric busses, as part of a pilot project. It is expected that 60 pct. of the bus fleet will be electric by 2025.
The first commercial electric truck came into operation in Oslo region in 2016 and will be tested as a solution for the transport of supermarket goods in Oslo region.
The post delivery service is as well testing different EVs and it already has today a fleet of more than 1.200 vehicles of different sizes. These are used for both package and mail delivery.
But the best is yet to come
Several of Norway’s major transport and technology developers are cooperating to develop solutions for self-driving busses. The first models for minibuses have been tested in limited environments in Oslo in 2016 and the first law project that will regulate these vehicles is currently under development. In the years to come, Oslo will become a learning arena for self-driving vehicles.