Oslo is often described as the electric vehicle capital of the world. Five years after EV ownership started taking off in Norway’s capital, the city has arrived at some key conclusions: on top of economic incentives, EVs must be an advantage to the consumer from A to Z, from buying to using, in order to succeed. Therefore, good sale, charging and parking conditions must be established. The main challenge for the municipality has been to make it easier for inhabitants to own an EV and to use it as a daily commuter. During the planning phase, it was crucial to secure a wide political consensus, from Oslo’s local authorities to the national lawmaker (which has taken steps in the past to promote EVs) in order to make the long-term investment in charging stations possible. Charging stations must be fully integrated within the urban fabric for them to be easily accessed by inhabitants, which includes interaction and cooperation with the Electric Vehicle Association and private property owners to ensure stations are found within neighborhoods as well as public spaces.
Trends in EV sales illustrate the enthusiasm of the population. Between 2012 and 2013, an increase of 93% of the number of EVs on the road took place. The first quarter of 2014 confirms this trend, with 1,238 EVs already sold. As of April 2014, the greater Oslo metropolitan area counted 11,293 EVs – nearly half of the country’s 25,710 registered EVs.
The municipality decided to establish 400 free charging points with reserved parking for electric vehicles in the city from 2008-2011, and dedicated funds for this purpose. The number of public charging stations is now above 500 and the city aims to reach 900 by the end of 2014. There are also 758 privately owned charging stations, of which 323 have been implemented with subsidies granted by the Oslo municipality.
In 2013, the City of Oslo decided that all municipal cars must be emission free by 2015 and allocated 50 million Norwegian kroner (US$8.3 million) to support agencies with an interest-free loan when replacing vehicles. By the end of 2014, 27% of Oslo’s municipal fleet is projected to be EVs. Oslo intends to cut emission from transport by 50% by 2030 compared to 1991 figures, despite rapid population growth, and to cut all emission from transport by 2050. Consequently, the municipality is aiming to be emission neutral by 2015 and has ordered a fleet of 1,000 zero-emissions vehicles.