In Norway in 2017, six out of the 20 best-selling cars were electric
January 11, 2018 12:16 AM   Subscribe

In Norway in 2017 battery electric vehicles (BEV) reached a market share of 20.8 percent, while plug-in hybrids (PHEV) accounted for 18.4, according to the Norwegian Road Federation´s statistics. Norway should reach at least 50,000 BEVs in 2018.

Why is Norway leading the pack on EV adoption? Some background on the incentives program that enjoy broad political support. And some impressions (YT video) from a guy that went to Oslo this summer and found it full of Teslas.
posted by Harald74 (16 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Tesla was a big seller in Hong Kong...until government incentives ended last April.
posted by tgrundke at 3:56 AM on January 11


This is how incentives work! Those tax benefits are quite substantial in the second link.
posted by oceanjesse at 4:44 AM on January 11


We need fewer cars, not newer cars.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 5:18 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]


Norway is a Petro-state, meaning revenue from oil production is funding this surge toward low carbon emissions autos fueled by renewable energy, which makes this all the more impressive.

(Or it’s smart export policy.)
posted by notyou at 5:34 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


We need fewer cars, not newer cars.

We need both, since even countries with fantastic public transit systems still have a lot of need for private automobiles. Given that, those cars should be as efficient/clean as possible, which in Norway is facilitated by subsidizing the cleaner cars at the expense of less clean cars.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:34 AM on January 11 [7 favorites]


Do we really have to do the "all forms of powered transportation are evil except mass transit" dance again.

People who already use cars switching to electric is good. It doesn't solve all problems, but it helps.
posted by emjaybee at 5:35 AM on January 11 [7 favorites]


Plus you do need a car in Norway. It's all mountains and narrow roads (only somewhat generalizing there). The train network is quite impressive, but in a country of just over 5 million and a population density of 15 people per square kilometer (41 per square mile), i.e. the same as Oregon, you've got a pretty small client base and a very big – very LONG in Norway – stretch of land to cover. They've done it! But you aren't going to get a high-speed train every hour. More like two a day. And that's not even getting into all the islands.

Electric is better than petrol. Plus, that petrol money? Norway invested it and is developing alternate energy with a goal of nearly 70% consumption of renewable energy by 2020. I mean it ain't perfect, there's nonsense like the proposal to open up the Lofoten archipelago to oil drilling, which would likely be an environmental catastrophe (one-word example: cod). But it's a good start.
posted by fraula at 5:57 AM on January 11 [6 favorites]


Electric is better than petrol.

According to many articles I have found online, EV's can can have temporary battery degradation of up to 40% in cold weather - which is quite a reduction in range. However - fossil fueled vehicles are also less efficient in cold weather - they tend to use more fuel as well.

Anecdotally, I have heard of many people in Canada that have had a hybrid or EV in the last 10-years, only to not choose hybrid/EV when they had to make a subsequent vehicle purchase, due to winter driving issues.

(Am not a fossil fuel lover - I have been following EV tech since the 80's - but I am a realist - and I do travel long distances across multiple provinces during the winter)
posted by jkaczor at 7:11 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


We've seemingly gotten into the "long tail" of efficiency improvements for internal combustion engines, but I think we're probably in the thick of things for hybrids. There's probably a ton of efficiency that can be wrung out of true hybrid powertrains—"true hybrid" meaning an electric vehicle with a battery and a genset, not that "regular car with an oversized starter motor" garbage that the US and Japanese automakers started turning out a few years ago to fool consumers and get tax breaks.

I'm particularly eager to see diesel-electric hybrids, both because diesel engines tend to perform well (both in terms of efficiency and emissions) when they are run at very constant speeds/loads, and because diesel fuel doesn't have the stability problems of petrol when you are using the car in pure BEV mode for long periods of time. I know someone who bought an early Chevy Volt and had a rather obnoxiously expensive service call, because the petrol in the tank went bad because he was commuting to work every day and basically never starting the regular motor. Apparently there's now a software "fix" which causes the motor to start more frequently to keep the fuel from going bad, but basically the lifespan of unstabilized petrol causes a minimum fuel consumption problem for hybrids. Stupid.

There are a lot of design decisions that we take for granted in automobile engines which are only done that way because the engine has to perform well over a wide range of temperatures, power levels, and speeds. When you reduce the problem down to "burn liquid fuel and turn it into electricity with maximum efficiency" instead of "propel a car", suddenly a lot of things become possible.

Although I know a lot of people favor the pure BEV design, I think low population density areas are probably best served by hybrid vehicles using a modular design approach, such that the "power plant" is essentially a unitized item that can be swapped out—not necessarily by the consumer, but by the manufacturer as part of producing different variants/configurations, so that different fuel models can be produced without a total redesign of the car. Producing e.g. a petrol and diesel engine of the same car today involves a lot of redesign, but offering diesel, petrol, CNG, propane, ethanol, etc. versions of a modular hybrid could in theory be fairly straightforward if the powerplant is rigorously specified and standardized. And for users who don't want the liquid-fuel option, the spare motor and fuel-storage space could be used for batteries.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:48 AM on January 11 [3 favorites]


Tangentially related to this, in the most tenuous manner possible, watch Occupied on Netflix, a Norwegian political thriller taking place after Norway decides to stop oil production and the Russians decide to invade/occupy to prevent the taps being closed. It's excellent and entertaining.
posted by Keith Talent at 8:06 AM on January 11 [3 favorites]


I'm particularly eager to see diesel-electric hybrids, both because diesel engines tend to perform well (both in terms of efficiency and emissions) when they are run at very constant speeds/loads, and because diesel fuel doesn't have the stability problems of petrol when you are using the car in pure BEV mode for long periods of time. I know someone who bought an early Chevy Volt and had a rather obnoxiously expensive service call, because the petrol in the tank went bad because he was commuting to work every day and basically never starting the regular motor. Apparently there's now a software "fix" which causes the motor to start more frequently to keep the fuel from going bad, but basically the lifespan of unstabilized petrol causes a minimum fuel consumption problem for hybrids. Stupid.


WOW.... I have a snowblower so I'm aware of the problems of gas going bad (I think it's the ethanol that's drawing humidity from the air in the fuel if I remember well) but I had never thought it could apply to a car, nasty surprise.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 9:40 AM on January 11


WOW.... I have a snowblower so I'm aware of the problems of gas going bad (I think it's the ethanol that's drawing humidity from the air in the fuel if I remember well) but I had never thought it could apply to a car, nasty surprise.

It's takes 6+ months, so not a likely problem for most Volt owners as the electric only range is ~30 miles.

"Stale gas" is why emergency generators and the like run diesel. You can bury a giant tank out of the parking lot and not worry about it going bad.
posted by sideshow at 1:59 PM on January 11


Necessity forced us in to getting our first car about 6 years ago, which means I went for 17 years on my own without having one, which isn't bad. It's easy when you live close to town. But we can't really do that any more. I still get the bus to and from work every day, but by Zeus that car is handy to have. I'd like our next one to be at least a hybrid but they are staggeringly, stupidly expensive here in Australia. Hopefully Ford will have lifted their game by then and we can have a Fiesta again.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:41 PM on January 11


I went for the past few years without a regular vehicle. Sure, I have a 4x4 conversion van, but it was never intended to be for use other than "take it somewhere and live in it for a weekend or a week" or maybe "fetch very large things from home deport". I have a motorcycle, but as I've gotten older and distracted driving more prevalent, I've enjoyed it less and less, and rarely want to take it out. Motorcycles have never been CONVENIENT, anyway, if you're going to be vaguely safe. Putting on and storing head to toe protective gear isn't instant. I didn't have trouble getting by with bicycle and lyft, even in Los Angeles.... until I moved to a spot that wasn't walking distance to a grocery store. That started to get old, and I was using the van for more and more things that I really didn't want to be using it for.
So a couple months ago I gave in - and got a Bolt. Two hundred miles is a perfectly great range. I charge it at home, I zip around on errands or maybe going to that restaurant that's outside of bicycle range and would've costs $30 round trip to lyft. It's so much more fun to drive than any other car I've driven. I didn't get a BEV because I wanted to save the world, it was literally just the best solution for me. I feel like an inflection point has been hit, and I really expect the charging network to get better rapidly. Right now I could pretty easily go all the way to Canada using 30 minutes for 90 miles charging, and even Vegas is doable with only a couple hours of charging total. Mammoth is out of range, but it's getting there.
They're still not cheap enough, but I feel like for the majority of people who still want to drive in metropolitan areas, BEVs are going to seem increasingly attractive.
posted by flaterik at 3:07 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, NPR echoes some US sentiment that doesn't understand that electric vehicles are becoming like other vehicles, just, you know, electric. Established Automakers Announce Bold Moves In Electrification
Ford and the other car companies want to become more Silicon Valley, less Detroit. And whether by choice or not, the cars are becoming more electric. Christoph von Hugo with Mercedes-Benz says electric vehicles, or EVs, are a cornerstone of the company's new strategy along with shared cars and connected cars.
...
Mercedes-Benz will make an electric or hybrid version of all its cars by 2022, and they're not alone. Volvo will go all electric by next year. Ford has plans for an electric F-150 truck and an electric Mustang. GM will launch 10 electric or hybrid cars in the country by 2020. And von Hugo says the coolness of self-driving cars will help convince the public that the coming EVs will be worthwhile.
... or car companies can start pushing EVs as hard as they push other vehicles. Back to the article:
If an electric hatchback won't tempt consumers, the car companies are hoping that maybe an electric pickup truck will, or a sports car will do the trick. What about an EV lowrider?
Why yes, more electric vehicle options will tempt more consumers. -_-
posted by filthy light thief at 6:43 PM on January 11


It's takes 6+ months, so not a likely problem for most Volt owners as the electric only range is ~30 miles.

My SO was recently looking at changing vehicle and we where pondering the electric options. We have need for short distances (< 30 miles) plus the unusual long distance trip. A Tesla would probably have had enough range but is way too expensive (we replacing a Yaris!). So we looked into the plug-in hybrid options since this would let her be 100% electric most of the time, and not complicates things on long distances. This could have meant gas that stays in the tank for a long stretch, so thats good to know.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 7:47 AM on January 12


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