Saturday, January 5, 2013

EV Success and How to Achieve It!

In 2012, Norway (pop 4.9 million) sold over 10,000 Nissan LEAFs (EVs account for 5.2% of all vehicle sales) while the US (pop 311.6 million) managed to eek out under 10,000 ("plug in" sales were a mere .6% of vehicle sales) LEAFs.

Electricity is a home grown product that has the side benefit of building the infrastructure and increasing the local tax base thru higher purchases and jobs when the demand goes up. Add to that, emerging new technology advances that is eliminating the TCO of green technologies of Wind and Solar and we have a great way to help reduce the national debt so why are we so resistant to the technology?

A better way to answer that is to ask "Why is Norway buying so many EVs?" Well, that is simple.  Norway simply made it cost prohibitive not to.  For years, Norway has levied HUGE taxes of gasoline imports so they were already half way there.  It does not take a lot of analysis to realize that burning gasoline is not good for the environment, the economy or really for anything else.  The improving mileage of newer cars also meant that the traditional method of maintaining roads (collecting gas taxes) were not working either so additional revenue had to be found and unlike "some" countries, Norway did not see fit to simply print money out of thin air and ignore the problem.

An EV in Norway is not subject to import taxes (which can add 30% to the price of the vehicle) and Norway did it right. the more gas a vehicle uses, the higher the tax and since EVs dont use any gas...

EVs are also not subject to congestion taxes for driving in dense population centers, can drive in the bus lanes (not in favor of that...but a great way to kick start the program so a temporary allowance I can accept)  which greatly reduces commute times, and they get free parking.

Norway also installed 3,500 charging stations which includes over 100 quick charge stations, so you might think EVers have it made?

Well, not so much. Check earlier entries in my blog for a better understanding of what cold weather does to my LEAFs range. But my "coldest" weather is a balmy fall day in Norway!  So a LEAFer in Norway can usually only expect to see 40-50 miles on a typical snowy, frigid winter day making use of public charging much more required for them than us.

Now, other European countries like Sweden are studying what Norway is doing right and are likely to adopt many of Norway's policies.  I can only hope that we as a country can learn as well and realize that the money spent today to support and build an EV infrastructure will come back to use many times over.

Spread the word!! We need to get into the EV adoption fast lane ASAP!

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