We made it to Norway. A pleasant sequence of three flights from Auckland to Oslo. I slept most of the way.
We got a great deal on KLM who ended up being half the price of our national carrier Air New Zealand. The flight from Seoul to Amsterdam was particularly comfortable, as the Dutch crew were cheeky, and fun and so incredibly Dutch! Steve’s dad was from the Netherlands and Steve and I have always felt an affinity with the Dutch, and we always look forward to our travels to the Netherlands after we’ve spent time in other countries in Europe that perhaps do not suit our personalities or sense of humour quite so well.
When we arrived at the airport the ease of movement was incredible. We got our passports stamped by an incredibly good looking young customs official, who was eager to know more about ChargeNet and couldn’t believe that we’d fly so far to speak at a single event. After stamping our passports he cheerfully exclaimed to Steve and I: “Electric Vehicles are certainly the future!” and I am confident he’s correct.
Then it was a short wait until our final flight at gate B24 in Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, to Oslo in Norway.
We landed, quickly and easily collected all of our bags and then equally quickly and easily managed to catch the train to Drammen.
The train was electric. We spotted dozens of EVs out the window and once we arrived at our destination.
Coming to Norway, is like stepping forward in time and I like it. I really. Really. Really like it.
So I am in the audience watching the snow fall outside the window, listening to the presidents of the EV associations in the Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and then my EV superstar friend Christina from Norway. BMW have done an amazing presentation and talked about collaboration with other OEMs as well as providing seamless solutions with car sharing, livability, public transport, and even urban gardening. Copenhagen has successfully integrated car sharing, public transport and enabled free movement of citizens with one card. This is the kind of stuff my dreams are made of. A future that is seamless, where movement is achieved with ease and emissions are low or non-existent.
The thing that is glaringly obvious to me here – as it has been since we started our journey into charging infrastructure – Collaboration is absolutely key. Cars are expected to evolve at a rate that it’s essential people work together. Technology is growing at a rate never before experienced by humanity. The need for industries and environments to consider their place in and amongst many other eco-systems is new and confusing for traditionalists, baby boomers and even some from generation X. The future, as it appeared so rapidly here in Norway, is in the hands of generation Y, millennials, and post-millennials. If people can’t learn to work together, they will be left behind. If companies can’t learn to listen to their customer base and provide smarter, cleaner, better solutions and sourcing smarter, cleaner, and more ethical materials, then their companies will be left behind in a swamp of anti-competitive behavior and traditionalist thinking.
Here in Norway, they discourage bad environmental decisions and behaviors through taxation, and they encourage good household and business decisions with tax breaks, incentives and a strong cultural and social dialogue. All of which encourages thoughtful and environmentally conscientious choices in households and businesses alike.
What does the world stand to learn from this small but mighty nation?
Here’s just three things I feel like New Zealand and the rest of the world ought to learn from Norway:
- People ought to be rewarded for making good decisions such as purchasing an EV, recycling, gardening, leading a healthy lifestyle etc. Rewards such as immediate tax benefits on the purchase of ethical and environmentally responsible products and services is just one way of discouraging unhealthy and unsustainable choices, and encouraging healthy options.
- Reach out. Activating and encouraging the community is something that Elbil and Norway’s local and national governments are total rock stars at doing. There are events and forums for drivers and people looking to purchase, and every member of the Elbil (Norwegian EV drivers association) has access to a vast array of support and benefits.
- Keeping it social. In Norway, the visibility of EV in the centre of Oslo blew Steve and I away on our first trip here in 2014. For your average Norwegian, looking out your office window and seeing a sea of EVs parked in convenient proximity would be a great way to encourage you to want to have your own EV and park just outside your office and charge the car while you go about your work day. Highly visible EV events, infrastructure and benefits for drivers made the social stigma of owning an EV a good thing, and there’s no reason why New Zealand cannot do the same.
This country is fantastic. The people are incredibly serious until you lock gazes with them and smile, then they will smile back and it is wonderful. It is an honour and an adventure to be here again, and I can’t wait until New Zealand is celebrating the same level up Electrification of our fleet as our Norwegian friends in the North have seen.
Thanks for reading.