Norway opens largest EV charge station
M. Michael Brady
On Thursday, September 1, 2016, the world’s largest electric vehicle battery charger station opened at Nebbenes, on the E6 European highway just south of the municipality of Eidsvoll, where the Norwegian constitution was drafted and signed on the 17th of May 1814.
The location of the station is perfect for meeting the charging needs of long-distance electric vehicles. The E6 is the main north-south highway of the Scandinavian peninsula that runs from the southern tip of Sweden at Trelleborg into Norway and through Oslo, and then through Norway, past the Arctic Circle to Kirkenes, near the North Cape, a total distance of 1,295 miles. Nebbenes is about eight miles north of the Gardermoen Gateway Airport.
The facilities at the station include fast chargers of all three systems now in use. There are 20 Tesla Superchargers, as many as at the Tesla factory in Fremont, California. In addition, for fast charging other electric cars made by Asian and European manufacturers, there are eight CHAdeMO quick chargers and two Combined Charging System (CCS) chargers set up by Fortum, a Finnish electrical energy company serving the Nordic and Baltic countries, Poland, and Russia. With all of its chargers running, the station delivers a total of nearly 2,000 kilowatts, or two megawatts of electrical power.
The largest charging station was built to meet the greatest charging needs of any country. Plug-in electric or hybrid cars now account for more than 3% of all registered cars in Norway and to date (in 2016) for more than a quarter of all new car sales. The second-place country is the Netherlands, where electric or hybrid cars account for about 10% of new car sales. In comparison, in the USA electric or hybrid cars account for about three-quarters of 1% of new car sales.
The high proportion of electric vehicles in Norway reflects governmental incentives of more than two decades, aimed to promote zero-emission cars, including:
• No purchase or import taxes (introduced in 1990)
• Low annual road-use tax (equivalent to state license fees) (1996)
• No charges on toll roads or ferries (1997 and 2009)
• Free municipal parking (1999)
• 50% reduction of company car tax (2000)
• New car purchase exempt from 25% Value-Added Tax (VAT, a general-consumption tax) (2001)
• Access to dedicated bus and taxi lanes (2005)
• Car leasing exempt from 25% VAT (2015)
These incentives are working, reflecting the long-term Storting (Parliament) goal for all new cars sold in 2025 to be either zero emission (electric or hydrogen) or low emission (plug-in hybrids). It’s an ambitious goal, but it’s feasible. Signs of that feasibility are appearing, as charger stations now are increasingly common along roads, in Norway as well elsewhere in Europe. In the electric-vehicle aware Nordic countries, the Fortum Charge & Drive network is expanding rapidly and now comprises 800 charging units, of which 300 are quick chargers.
Further reading: EV Norway, overview of electric vehicle sector published in English by the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association, link: elbil.no/english.
This article originally appeared in the Jan. 13, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.