Norway Is Living in the Electric Car Future and the Chargers Still Suck

Norway is aggressively promoting all things electric. While the air is cleaner and the electric grid remains in tact, not everything is perfect in Norway — and charging is still a pain.

If any country can figure out easy EV charging, it really ought to be Norway. The country is on track to slash its carbon dioxide emissions to almost zero by 2030. Around 80 percent of new car sales were EVs in 2022, and new car buyers in Norway won’t be able to find a gas-powered engine after 2025.

Meanwhile, America is aiming for at least half of all new car sales to be electric by that same year. But in Norway, as here in the U.S., one of the main pain points is still charging. Apartment dwellers especially feel the frustration of finding an open working charger, according to a new deep dive into how EVs have changed life in the country from the New York Times:

About 110 miles south of Oslo, along a highway lined with pine and birch trees, a shiny fueling station offers a glimpse of a future where electric vehicles rule.

Chargers far outnumber gasoline pumps at the service area operated by Circle K, a retail chain that got its start in Texas. During summer weekends, when Oslo residents flee to country cottages, the line to recharge sometimes backs up down the off-ramp.

Marit Bergsland, who works at the store, has had to learn how to help frustrated customers connect to chargers in addition to her regular duties flipping burgers and ringing up purchases of salty licorice, a popular treat.

“Sometimes we have to give them a coffee to calm down,” she said.

However, the really apocalyptic stuff predicted in the wake of EVs hasn’t happened there: Gangs of unemployed oil change mechanics do not prowl a night made darker by a completely collapsed electric grid. Generally mechanics are still in business as there are still plenty of gas cars on the road and even EVs need repair sometimes too, simply less often. There have also been major improvements in air quality with only modest increase demands for power.

The entire story is a little slice of hope, though you have to admit Norway isn’t America and we have fairly significant cultural hurdles to clear before we take climate change this seriously. And fighting with a car charger doesn’t sound fun, but hey, free coffee! If only there were a better way. You can read the full story here.

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