City officials in Oslo seem intent on making the Norwegian capital the world’s electric car capital as well. It now can boast the highest number of recharging stations per capita in the world, and is the home of some major el-car producers.
Last week the city formally opened a large new recharging station, free of charge for el-car owners, right near the popular inner harbour and adjacent to the waterfront Aker Brygge complex. The station also offers free parking for el-cars, for up to 16 hours.
The spacious recharging and parking facility, mostly empty one day last week, stands in sharp contrast to the limited and expensive parking in the area for conventional vehicles. It costs NOK 48 (USD 7.75) per hour to park on the street just next to the el-car lot and even more in a nearby garage.
City manager Stian Berger Røsland boasted that the new lot is the largest of its kind in the world, with 50 free parking and recharging stalls. Oslo also has 179 other recharging stations for el-cars, and aims for 700 within the next two years.
The city also allows el-car users to drive in commuter lanes and exempts them from tolls into the city. The state exempts them from Norway’s hefty annual car registration fees.
Meanwhile, long-troubled el-car maker Think has been advertising heavily in local newspapers for both personnel and for its new Think City model due out later this summer. Think claims the little cars, which sell for around NOK 250,000 (USD 40,000), are as secure as a conventional car, fun to drive, emit zero carbon emissions, can run for 160 kilometers before recharging is needed and have a top speed of 110 kph.
Think was founded at Aurskog, northeast of Oslo, in the early 1990s but suffered many years of changing ownership and bankruptcies. It now claims to have the capital needed to sustain production, and calls itself a “pioneer” in the industry.
More than a dozen dealerships from Sandefjord in the south to Tromsø in the north were listed as taking orders for the new Think models.