Electric car-sharing on the road in Norway

Five of Norway’s biggest cities work on car-sharing schemes

Photo: Clément Bucco-Lechat / Wikimedia Commons Toyota’s i-ROAD on display at Geneva MotorShow 2013.

Photo: Clément Bucco-Lechat / Wikimedia Commons
Toyota’s i-ROAD on display at Geneva MotorShow 2013.

Michael Sandelson & Lyndsey Smith
The Foreigner

Japan’s Toyota recently revealed a new electric car for city use, partnering with France’s Grenoble and energy supply company EDF to pilot the scheme. Several Norwegian municipalities are also thinking electric vehicle-sharing thoughts.

The project in France will involve 70 i-ROAD vehicles around the city. They can be located using a smartphone app, which will also give information on the amount of power the car’s battery has.

Company Sodetrel has installed 27 charging points around the city, bringing Grenoble’s total to 120. Forty-one of these are available for use by other vehicles. The same company has installed 1,374 in various places in Norway.

The French scheme starts on October 1, and will last around three years. The price for renting the vehicle is set at three euros for 15 minutes. Extending the time to up to 30 minutes incurs an additional fee of two euros, while each 15-minute period after this will cost one euro. Consequently, an hour’s use costs seven euros, total.

Five of Norway’s biggest cities—Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger, and Kristiansand—are at various stages when it comes to electric vehicles and car-sharing.

“We cooperate with a private company called Move About, environmental organisation ZERO, and Norway’s Electric Car Association (Norsk elbilforening) regarding developing vehicles,” Oslo municipality’s Sture Portvik, head of their electric vehicles division, tells The Foreigner.

The municipality has set aside NOK 50 million to substitute their fossil fuel-powered vehicles with electric ones. According to him, they are halfway. Private individuals can also set up an account with Move About, founded in Norway in 2007.

“Car-sharing is popular. Frankfurt and London are very keen on the scheme. When it comes to electric vehicles, people can familiarize themselves with them, and they are safe to drive,” says Portvik.

Stavanger, Norway’s oil capital located in Rogaland County, is following Oslo’s example. “We’re working on different schemes for electric vehicle-sharing to expand the one Oslo has. Part of this is enabling the municipality to hire private EVs from businesses during the day, while they can be used for private purposes during the evening and at night,” remarks the municipality’s chief environmental officer, Olav Stav.

35,902 electric vehicles were on the road in Norway as of August 31 this year. “We don’t have an electric car-sharing scheme in place, but some municipal employees and inhabitants are members of [cooperative] Bildeleringen,” comments Lars Ove Kvalbein, mobility and climate information advisor in Bergen municipality. “We’re also going to be replacing 730 of the vehicles currently in our fleet (about 20 percent) with zero emission ones.”

Transnova, a Ministry of Transport and Communications subsidiary, has recently announced NOK 2 million is to be allocated towards an electric car-sharing program.

Bjørn Ove Bertelsen, chief engineer at Trondheim municipality’s department of the environment, states: “we haven’t begun an electric vehicle-sharing scheme yet, but are very keen to get one started.”

Kristiansand municipality’s climate and environment advisor Kim Øvland says they do not currently have an electric car-sharing scheme in place either. According to him, however, some car dealers might have a scheme in which electric vehicle customers can borrow a fossil fuel-based one for longer journeys.
“There have been public discussions regarding electric vehicles in relation to a plan for the region, but these have mainly been about infrastructure. We’ve spent quite a lot of money establishing fast charging stations in the region, but there’s still some way to go,” he concludes.

Controlling vehicle pollution, improving public transport, and shifting away from the car culture could save 1.4 million lives and trillions of dollars, according to a new report by the University of California Davis and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP).

This article was originally published on The Foreigner. To subscribe to The Foreigner, visit theforeigner.no.

It also appeared in the Oct. 3, 2014 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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