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Debate in Norway

Electric car club calls for a rethink on zero-emission delivery vans

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Norway is regarded as a pioneer in electromobility, which the Norwegian Electric Car Club (Norsk elbilforening) proudly recognises as a result of its work. Its Secretary General, Christina Bu, is now convinced that the government's target that all new vans must be emission-free from 2025 has failed. Instead, she is proposing new targets.

Christina Bu, a woman in a blazer in front of a parking area with transporters

Christina Bu, Secretary General of the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association © Jamieson Pothecary/Norsk elbilforening

Norsk elbilforening is an influential NGO in Norway that is listened to in politics. The e-car club represents over 120,000 members who own electric cars themselves and sees itself as both a consumer and environmental organisation. Among other things, it has long been successfully campaigning for electric vehicles to be more favourable than combustion cars through subsidies and regulations. With success: last year, over 80 % of new cars registered in Norway were purely battery electric. A ban on combustion engines has long since been decided, but Norsk elbilforening sees a need to catch up when it comes to commercial vehicles. At the beginning of February, the club organised a panel discussion entitled "The forgotten climate target?". In addition to representatives from the business world, several politicians were also invited.

Norsk elbilforening's title alludes to the fact that only 29 % of new vans were electric in 2023. After the state energy agency Enova cancelled subsidies for electric vans at the beginning of 2023, the proportion of electric vehicles sold fell from 38 % in March to 25 % in December. Christina Bu warned: "We have no chance of reaching 100 % of new sales with electric vans by 2025. It seems that politicians have forgotten about vans." Instead, her association is proposing to combine the targets for light and heavy vans, which were previously set to be emission-free by 2025 and 2030 respectively. Instead, the government should set a target for all vans to be emission-free by 2027. Bu hopes that the discussion will lead to new talks and approaches to accelerate the switch to electric drives.

During the discussion, it became clear that the incentives for electric mobility are lower for commercial vehicles than for cars, although the purchase costs are higher. In addition, battery electric vehicles have disadvantages such as longer charging times and lower payloads. There was a consensus that more support is needed here.

Measures discussed included a toll exemption or an adjustment to taxation. The idea of setting requirements for the use of electric vehicles in public tenders also met with approval. Jone Blikra from the ruling Labour Party did not want to give any details on the new goals of the national government. He referred to the ongoing revision of the national transport plan, which the government intends to present to the Storting in March.


Jan Klein