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How Norway achieves top performances in e-mobility

Norway is number one in Europe in the area of electric and hybrid vehicles. We asked an expert from the Norwegian company in charge of collecting and dismantling the largest number of used electric and hybrid vehicle (EV) batteries in Europe to tell us all about it.”

Government incentives

BEBAT: The success story of e-mobility in Norway stands out as a beacon. Its success seems to be a direct consequence of the systematic government policy offering a wide range of incentives since the early 1990s. Suppose that we were to introduce the same measures here in Belgium. Would we also achieve top scores - or are there other causes for the Norwegian leap forward?

Fredrik Andresen: ‘I agree entirely that the consistent government policy is the basis for the success. At the same time, Norwegians are great nature lovers. Electric vehicles are 'clean', and a good way to take care of nature. I think therefore that some Norwegians 'go electric' not merely for the subsidies or tax deduction. Although saving money often plays a role in the decision to buy electric cars.’

 

At the same time, Norwegians are great nature lovers. Electric vehicles are 'clean', and a good way to take care of nature.

BEBAT: Suppose you were named minister of e-mobility in Belgium. What three measures would you introduce?

Fredrik Andresen:

  1. Halve the tax on the use of electric company cars used by employees;
  2. Are there toll roads in Belgium? Then I would make them free for the electric cars of families with young children (not for company cars);
  3. No VAT or other tax on electric cars in the first ten years.

100% zero emission new cars

BEBAT: Norway is aiming for 100% zero-emission new passenger vehicles and light vans by 2030. Is this target easy to reach, or are there obstacles?

Fredrik Andresen: ‘No, this is not an easy objective. We have an old fleet of cars that needs time to be phased out. BUT: as from 2025, no more polluting cars will be sold in Norway, and that will indeed help. We need to maintain tax advantages and other subsidies. The fact is that the current delivery of electric and hybrid cars is unable to keep up. We have waiting lists of 2 years and more for various electric vehicles.’

BEBAT: What are the greatest challenges for your company? Are you ready for an even larger volume of batteries?

Fredrik Andresen: ‘Yes of course, we are ready for that. We have invested and will invest even more, together with our owners, in order to guarantee safe and controlled handling of batteries. Safe, because we must never underestimate the risks involved in dismantling EV batteries. The lack of legislation in this area is a problem, as the technology outstripped the legislation years ago. We must put pressure to ensure that everything is done in the right way.’

Second-life applications

BEBAT: EV batteries can be given a second life, for example in energy storage applications. There are, however, obstacles to second-life applications, such as the ongoing responsibility of the producer including in a new application. Your vision?

Fredrik Andresen: ‘In Norway, we have already conducted a great deal of research into second-life applications, and yes, the responsibility of the producer is an obstacle. This must in my view be transferred to the "second life" company. At the same time, many car manufacturers are joining us in the search for second-life solutions. In sum: we support second life 100%, ON CONDITION that the responsibility is transferred and that the legal aspect is fully in order. In that case I see no objection, as long as the price of new batteries remains as high as it is now. We will continue to do research, including in collaboration with other companies and bodies.’

BEBAT: What does Batteriretur want to focus on in the coming years?

Fredrik Andresen: ‘A good question. To give you a complete answer would take a lot more time (laughs). We want first and foremost to create new value chains for our partners, owners and members. As I mentioned, we want to create a controlled downstream for EV batteries. At the same time, we are also striving for “liveable” legislation that benefits the entire battery sector.

In Europe, a lot of batteries are collected for which there is no correct reporting. This can harm the reputation of the whole sector. We need stricter monitoring by the government.’

 

In Europe, a lot of batteries are collected for which there is no correct reporting. This can harm the reputation of the whole sector. We need stricter monitoring by the government.

Vision for the future

BEBAT: How do you see the future of e-mobility in Norway?

Fredrik Andresen: ‘With its small population and its wealth, Norway can become 100% non-polluting in record time - at least, as regards pollution by the automobile sector. I believe that we need to spend a larger proportion of our income from oil on R&D, for there will be a “post-peak oil period” for Norway. This is an opportunity. We must also open the doors to others, for inventors of new technologies. In future, the volumes and importance of batteries will certainly increase. I am convinced that we and other partners need to share even more information within our battery network, and exchange experiences in order to continue developing the sector.’

A brief introduction

Fredrik Andresen (38) is CEO of Batteriretur, Bebat's Norwegian counterpart. He lives in Fredrikstad, south of Oslo, together with his wife and children. He studied marketing, took various leadership training programmes and has 15 years of experience in the auto sector/aftermarket business. The Batteriretur company was founded in 1993 as a non for profit organisation and is one of the oldest of its kind in Europe. This niche company is run by battery importers. With a large market share (90%), it has played a decisive role in the approach to battery collection in Norway.

 

I am convinced that we and other partners need to share even more information within our battery network, and exchange experiences in order to continue developing the sector.

‘We collect all sorts of batteries throughout Norway. We focus on a controlled downstream of all categories of batteries with safety first thinking. The rising share of litium based batteries require us to raise the safety issue even further. In 2014, we established an ancillary company called Batteriretur Høyenergi AS, specifically for EV batteries. To date we have collected and dismantled more EVB than any other company in Europe. We are pleased to share this experience with other countries, in this case jointly with Bebat.’

 

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