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Bellona takes off for Glasgow in an electric car

On Monday, Bellona set out for the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in an electric car – of course. Most have heard that electric car sales in Norway are through the roof, but many don’t know is how pivotal Bellona has been in inspiring the Norwegian EV policies that have put the country miles ahead the rest of the world when it comes to phasing in zero-emission solutions in road transport.

bellona EV glasgow 1Bellona’s Telsla on the way to Glasgow.Credit: Bellona

On Monday, Bellona set out for the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in an electric car – of course. Most have heard that electric car sales in Norway are through the roof, but many don’t know is how pivotal Bellona has been in inspiring the Norwegian EV policies that have put the country miles ahead the rest of the world when it comes to phasing in zero-emission solutions in road transport.

We’ll get into the history of our involvement a little later, but first, why did we decided to drive an electric car through Europe to Scotland? It may not come as a surprise that an electric car can do a long trip ­– this trip is almost 3000 kilometers each way and goes through nine countries – but it might not be the first thing you’d think of.

Because, while battery range is no longer the problem it once was, even for cheaper electric cars, it’s the charging infrastructure that is failing to keep pace. There is a certain density of charging stations such that you can get to most places in Europe on one route or another – so long as you don’t swerve too far off the beaten path. In sparsely populated areas, however, the density of charging stations is still far too low, and along the main roads there is a risk of encountering chargers that don’t work, that have long queues, or both.

We’ve encountered these problems in Norway for a while, and now Europe is feeling the same pain. Electric cars accounted for 9.8 percent of all new car sales in Europe during the third quarter of this year. That’ a drop in the bucket when compared to Norway – but in pure volume, those sales equate to 309,000 modern electric cars on the road, all suitable for long trips – and each needing somewhere to charge up.

Bellona is driving a Tesla Model 3 to Glasgow and it has both good range and access to the Tesla charging network. This should make the trip, which in any case runs mostly along main highways, hassle-free. But as we are sure we will see, the charging infrastructure is not up to handling the huge number of EVs that will soon be rolling on European roads.

So, we’re taking this trip to shed light on the challenges Europe still faces as it transitions to electromobility for both large and small vehicles. Additionally, we’ll make stops along the way to talk about other climate solutions. You can follow the journey in our social media.

But back to the starting point: How has Bellona put its fingerprints on Norwegian electric car policy?

We’ve actually been working for an electric cars transition since 1989, and we deserve much of the credit  – or blame, depending on your point of view – for the special treatment these environmentally friendly cars receive today.

An A-Ha moment

Norway’s very first electric car was almost ridiculously small – a rebuilt Fiat imported from Switzerland with lead batteries, cramped space for two and a theoretical range of 45 kilometers.

Elbil Morten Harket Frederic Hauge bompengering.jpg

Source : https://bellona.org/news/transport/2021-10-bellona-takes-off-for-glasgow-in-an-electric-car