The Oslo model: how to prepare your city for the electric-vehicle surge

Electric Cars Norway 2018

UN Photo/JC McIlwaine Electric cars.

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Sture Portvik, Project Leader Electrical Vehicles, City of Oslo & Emma Skov Christiansen, Community Specialist, Electricity Industries, World Economic Forum

An automobile revolution is coming our way – only you might have trouble hearing it this time. Oslo’s experience shows that it is possible to boost the sales of electric vehicles (EV), that they work in a rough Nordic climate, and that a major shift could be just around the corner. Rapid and promising growth in large cities in California, China, Korea and Europe is fuelling optimism across the globe.

For the first time in history, more than half of all new cars sold in Oslo are electric; the city is today often referred to as the EV capital of the world. With a record high of 39% of all new cars being fully electric, Norway is by far the country with the highest market share for EVs by capita globally, even if Los Angeles, Beijing and Shanghai have higher sales in absolute numbers.

 A graphic illustrating the rise in EV use in Norway. BEV stands for Battery Electric Vehicle, while PHEV means plug-in hybrid vehicle.

A graphic illustrating the rise in EV use in Norway. BEV stands for Battery Electric Vehicle, while PHEV means plug-in hybrid vehicle.
Image: The Norwegian EV Association

In Oslo, more than 50% of new cars sold in 2017 were either fully battery electric (37.5%) or a plug-in hybrid (14.1%), according to the Norwegian Road Federation (OFV). The exponential growth of EV sales in Oslo is continuing, with a 53% sales share for electric vehicles so far in 2018.

Today, electric cars make up 16% of total cars in Oslo, with 9% fully electric cars and 7% plug-in hybrids. It takes time to change the game completely and convert all cars from diesel and gasoline to electric. But a major transition towards zero emission cars is now well on track, with the growth much faster than anticipated a couple of years ago.

Based on the following evidence, green taxes (on less polluting vehicles) and other incentives have indeed worked. Consumers have embraced EVs in increasing numbers because the public sector has made it sensible, affordable and simple for people to make green choices in their daily life.

The Oslo model

The exponential growth of EVs, with annual sales increase of more than 100%, was surprisingly high, even for the most optimistic among us. Fantastic as it is, it also creates challenges.

For the first time since 2008, it is hard for EV drivers to find an available charging point in central Oslo; the number of available charging points per vehicle have dropped from one charger per four cars, to one charger per 10 cars.

However, there is a solution: not only to boost the number of chargers, but also to make the charging infrastructure smarter and more efficient. The city council recently decided to go up a gear and triple the deployment of new charging points.

In close cooperation with private companies, Oslo will build fast chargers in the corridors in and out of the city. A large network of semi-fast chargers (7.4-22 kW), with a higher charging speed and higher turnover of cars, is being deployed to ensure a more cost-efficient system and less use of limited public space. The world’s first indoor parking for EVs only, Fortress, has also been part of accommodating and supporting Oslo’s growing fleet of zero-emission cars.

A holistic approach to zero emissions

Everything is connected to everything else; to bring about a green shift in transportation, you need to think holistically. EVs are only part of the equation. Oslo will need to scale up green public transportation and public transport on demand, and increase the focus on pedestrians and cyclists, as well as autonomous vehicles and Mobility as a Service (MaaS). Increasing freight by railway and introducing green freight distribution in the city, zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles and zero-emission taxis are also part of the new Oslo model’s holistic approach to becoming fossil-free by 2024. Green public procurement, goods and services delivered by zero-emission vehicles and good park and ride solutions, in combination with EVs, and an increased use of intelligent traffic systems (ITS) and artificial intelligence (AI) to make the EV use swift, efficient and user-friendly, are equally necessary for the Oslo model’s success.

Incentives are important, but in order for them to work, we also need more regulations on car usage. In Oslo, several new measures are planned:

• A car-free city centre (inner city)

• New low emission zones (greater Oslo)

Residential parking zones with free parking for EVs (greater Oslo)

Congestion tax (non for EVs) (the whole city)

Increased numbers of toll gates/road throughout the city, with free passage for EVs

• A fossil-free city 2024 (greater Oslo)

• Only zero emission taxis from 2022 (the whole city)

Ban on sales of diesel and gasoline vehicles (all of Norway from 2022)

• Temporary bans on diesel cars on the most polluting days (the whole city from 2017)

The (smog-free) road ahead

Today, we have an historic opportunity to convert all vehicles to zero emission – private vehicles, commercial vehicles and public transport. But we need the right regulatory framework, public-private cooperation and the resilience to succeed.

The global future will depend on a lot of variables including: the political willingness to use green taxes, regulations and other incentives to make the shift; technological developments for vehicles, batteries, chargers, autonomous vehicles, AI and ITS; global price developments for alternative fuel such as gasoline and diesel; national and transnational cooperation, involving local government, national government and private businesses; global cooperation and free exchange of examples and ideas – like the World Economic Forum’s report on Electric Vehicles for Smarter Cities: The Future of Energy and Mobility; and sound business models that can help finance the green shift in transport.

Factor those in and a newer, cleaner age of motoring will be available to everyone.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Abu Dhabi is investing $250 million in tech start-ups

Energy: new target of 32% from renewables by 2030 agreed by MEPs and ministers

This German supermarket’s shelves are filled with food other stores won’t sell

Royal Navy to unveil future surveillance and reconnaissance requirements next February in Rome

Air pollution: How to end the deaths of 7 million people per year

Draghi: ECB to flood Eurozone and the world with more zero cost money; risk of drowning in cash

DR Congo Ebola centre attacks could force retreat against the deadly disease, warns UN health chief

The Shifting Rhythms of Harmonious China: Ancient, Modern & Eternal

European Semester: The Winter Package explained

This Canadian company transforms plastic waste into building materials

Ensure safety of responders UN Security Council urges, amid worsening DR Congo Ebola outbreak

The final countdown towards achieving 2030 Agenda

How man and machine can work together in the age of AI

Two EU Commissioners fire at will against the US

The why in including palliative care in Universal Health Care

Rapid growth in China post-COVID makes it ripe for investment

‘A new chapter’ dawns for democracy in Guinea-Bissau: top UN official

Coronavirus: ‘An emergency in China, but not yet a global health emergency’

‘Unconscionable’ to kill aid workers, civilians: UN Emergency Coordinator

New rules allow EU consumers to defend their rights collectively

Eritrea sanctions lifted amid growing rapprochement with Ethiopia: Security Council

Malaysia can show the way towards a holistic model for human rights

Coronavirus: Commission proposes a Digital Green Certificate

ECB money bonanza not enough to revive euro area, Germany longs to rule with stagnation

EU-U.S Joint statement on the humanitarian emergency in Tigray

UN rights chief welcomes new text to protect rights of peasants and other rural workers

State aid: Commission approves €790 million Croatian guarantee scheme for companies with export activities affected by coronavirus outbreak

How will the EU face the migration crisis when the Turkish threats come true?

Pesticides: MEPs propose blueprint to improve EU approval procedure

Hazy ‘breakthrough’ saves PM May, leaves Ireland in limbo: Brexit

European Junior Enterprises to address the significant skills mismatch in the EU between school and employment

Women in Medicine: An Equality Long Overdue

In a time of rising xenophobia, more important than ever to ratify Genocide Convention

6 ways countries can prepare for the next infectious disease pandemic

After the European Parliament elections – what happens next?

Stateless Rohingya refugee children living in ‘untenable situation’, UNICEF chief

Zero carbon by 2050 is possible. Here is what we need to do

State aid: Commission approves €511 million Italian scheme to compensate commercial rail passenger operators for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak

Germany’s fiscal and financial self-destructive policies

Palliative care: an indispensable component for a better quality of life

2014 will bring more European Union for the big guys and less for the weak

Parliament and Council agree drastic cuts to plastic pollution of environment

EU will not deliver on promises without democratic accountability

COP21 Breaking News: Conference of Youth Focuses on Hard Skills to Drive Greater Climate Action

The West – the EU and the US – is writing off Turkey’s Erdogan

These 3 innovative solar farms show why this renewable technology is hot right now

Idlib deal could save three million ‘from catastrophe’ says UN chief, as militants are urged to lay down arms

‘Favour dialogue’ over violence, UN chief urges all parties following clashes in Mali’s capital

Drug laws must be amended to ‘combat racial discrimination’, UN experts say

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

London is becoming the world’s first National Park City

MEPs want ambitious funding for cross-border projects to connect people

Voices of Afghan women ‘must be heard at the table in the peace process and beyond’ UN deputy chief tells Security Council

5 factors driving the Chinese lawtech boom

Afghanistan: UN mission condemns deadly attack near Kabul airport

Detecting online child sexual abuse requires strong safeguards

Doctors without borders

This powerful tool will help corporates make the switch to 100% renewables

Germany readies to pay for the Brexit gap in EU finance

Helping small businesses fight cybercrime benefits the global ecosystem

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s