I went to the annual meeting of Orkustofnun, the Icelandic National Energy Authority, last week. Interesting. Two of the talks focused on electric vehicles (EVs) in the Nordic countries. A comprehensive report on EVs in the Nordic countries can be downloaded here.
Sweden and Iceland have both seen great growth in electric cars, but Norway is still the leader. However, publicly available chargers have not increased in line with the sale of electric vehicles. Though the majority of electric vehicle owners charge up their cars at home – 75% in Norway and 85% in Iceland – publicly available chargers are vital for those who travel long-distance and for holiday-makers who hire cars. The EU aims for one charger for every 10 EVs by 2020, and 4 million EVs on the road by 2030 which could save 8 megatonnes of CO2 equivalents. Denmark and Finland have already reached this target and Sweden is not far behind. Norway and Iceland, however, still have some way to go.
Exemptions on registration taxes are common in the Nordic countries. This helps to make them more attractive to consumers. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are preferred in Sweden, Iceland and Finland whereas battery electric vehicles are most popular in Denmark and Norway.
A recent survey showed that 43% of Icelanders would consider buying an EV in the future. Iceland is now installing more charging points, so it is now possible to drive around the island in an electric car without worrying about running out of battery. Because Iceland’s electricity is 100% renewable, the CO2 output of an EV in Iceland is virtually none.
Nevertheless, 40% of new cars in Iceland are bought by car rental firms. Icelanders then buy these cars as nearly-new a year or two later. These companies have been reluctant to take on vehicles using alternative fuels such as EVs, and thus the supply of these cars in the near future is likely to be limited.