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Norway - the envy of the world in electric vehicle deployment

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In the upward trajectory towards electrification of transport there is one country that is on a stellar pathway, and an enviously long long way ahead of everyone else – Norway.  This compounds with the envy that is often felt by professionals in the energy sector, caused by their enormous hydro-electric power resources such that they already have a virtually zero carbon electricity system ….grrrr.  Oh and most of their heat is from this lovely clean electricity as well, so they have low carbon heating as well…double grrrr.

A row of vehicles in a residential street, one car is an electric vehicles which is being charged from a charge point next to a tree.

Electric vehicles account for 42% of new car sales

So the electric vehicle domain is the next chapter in Norway’s in low carbon showcase to the world. Driven by a very broad set of incentives and strong public acceptance of this transition, the sales rate of EV adoption in Norway often has to be shown on truncated axes on graphs when comparing to other countries.  Electric vehicles there account for 42% of new car sales and the population of vehicles is now over 100,000.  This compares to UK sales rates of approx 2% and a UK vehicle population of 126,000.  Given the population differences between the two countries, the number of EVs per capita in Norway is approximately ten times that of the UK.

A blue and white Welcome to Norway sign.

What could we learn from Norway?

Given that the UK is still in the early days of its own journey to EV nirvana and still learning how to navigate the terrain and develop the right solutions for mass adoption we recognised earlier in the year that there must be insights we could glean about the Norway journey. So we took the decision earlier in the year to lift the bonnet on the Norway scene and visit Oslo back in June. Their energy system is very different of course, as is their geo-social landscape but on the basis that we didn’t know what we didn’t know we wanted to find out what an EV rich future looks like.  What could we learn from the differences as well as the common features, how they were solving problems, and were there developments that would give us confidence in our own approaches, and inform our own innovation strategy, particularly around helping EVs work in harmony with the power grid.

Two electric vehicles being charged at a charge point in a residential street.

Connecting with EV experts in Oslo

So we took a delegation of a dozen or so UK stakeholder specialists to Oslo for a day, people focussed on supporting the EV transition, and in developing plans to ensure EV adoption becomes a real win-win for vehicle users and the energy system.   We met with a similar group of stakeholders from the Norwegian side, and all came away feeling incredibly positive, with fascinating insights, and a greater confidence that an EV world in the UK will be a positive one.

On a personal level, seeing an EV only car park in Oslo was something that stopped me in my tracks, I got excited, such that I even photographed it…I think I need to get out more.

We’ve now collated the observations from that visit into an informal report that you can view here.

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