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E-car pioneer weakens when it comes to charging

In Norway, more electric cars were sold last year than combustion cars. The country is far ahead in an international comparison. The success lies in the privileges. But the charging infrastructure is not up to scratch.

76,800 electric cars were newly registered in Norway in 2020. This corresponds to a share of 54.3%. This is the first time that a country has reached the 50% mark in new registrations of e-cars. In addition, 98% of the energy for the cars comes from renewable sources such as wind and hydropower. So people in Norway are indeed travelling green.

Nevertheless, there are still comparatively few charging stations in Norway, especially in rural areas. While there are about 23 electric cars per charging point in Norway, there are only about 9 electric cars per charging point in Germany. In general, this is not a problem in the sparsely populated country. But in some areas, such as Trysil, the country's most popular ski resort, it can become a problem. The two existing charging stations in the tranquil village are sufficient for the approximately 6,000 inhabitants. But when it gets crowded at the weekends, long queues form in front of the charging stations. The problem is that it is not worthwhile for the companies to build charging stations where they are only used sporadically. Similarly, in Germany, for example, there are comparatively few charging stations, especially in rural areas.

So how is it possible that Norway is so far ahead in terms of electric vehicles? This is probably due to the many privileges that e-car drivers enjoy. For example, they are allowed to use bus lanes and drive free of charge on toll motorways. They are also exempt from vehicle tax and do not have to pay import duties on e-cars. In most cities, parking is also free for them.

In other European countries, there are also some privileges, such as the use of bus lanes and free parking, as well as subsidies when buying an electric car. Nevertheless, in Germany, for example, more than 50% of people say they cannot imagine buying an electric car.

So what needs to happen in other countries so that the e-car revolution continues to gain momentum? More privileges or more charging stations? Or is it the mentality of the people, who are even further away from green mobility than in the Scandinavian pioneer country Norway?

It is likely that the increasing bans on internal combustion vehicles in Europe's low-emission zones will play their part in the change in the coming years.