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Electric cars grab almost half of sales in Norway (reuters.com)
139 points by RmDen 15 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 146 comments



As a Norwegian who just replaced a diesel car with an electric car, there are a few factors which is making EVs very attractive here:

- EVs are VAT (25%) exempt, and in addition avoid the extra duty due to no CO2 or NOX emissions. As an example a VW Golf 1.0 115HP TSI[1] gasoline version is about 37.5k USD from dealer. Without VAT or emission duties[2], that Golf would be about 23k USD, where 8.4k USD is the emission duties.

- Many people have a relatively short commute, so limited range EVs like Nissan Leaf or e-Golf do just fine.

- A lot of our roads, especially in cities, have road toll. EVs have for many years been exempt. Recently this changed, but EVs still only pays 50% of regular cars.

[1]: https://www.volkswagen.no/content/dam/vw-ngw/vw_pkw/importer... [2]: https://www.skatteetaten.no/person/avgifter/bil/importere/re...


Which really means, if we invest in government subsidies for EVs, people will understand the real costs to the petroleum infrastructure (for those of you playing along at home - the petroleum industry gets billions in tax subsidies yearly already, so this would be a leveling of the playing field).

The problem is a political/governance one.


> the petroleum industry gets billions in tax subsidies yearly already, so this would be a leveling of the playing field

Well... this is Norway. The oil industry isn't subsidized by the government, the government is subsidized by the oil industry.


The government IS the oil industy. They own 50-70% of every big oil company.


I liked this story:

"The Iraqi who saved Norway from oil" (2009) https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19594153


Don't forget the environment subsidizing the entire fossil fuel industry- that is a bill whose payments are now behind and with a lot of interest that will be passed on to everything on the planet instead of just those responsible for the negative consequences.


That doesn't even sound that bad until you realize that the payments balloon and defaulting means extinction.


That's a little melodramatic. I just got back from Sweden and Norway and as others have noted the lavish subsidies make the extra expense of running an EV attractive. I was talking to a Swedish friend who follows climate scientist Piers Corbyn (the UK Labour party leader's brother) closely, and who wouldn't agree with your perception. https://twitter.com/piers_corbyn EV's are very cost effective for now to seed the market, but once the subsidies are turned off it is questionable haw many thrifty Scandinavians will continue if there are more economically viable option open to them.


No it doesn't. Certain species may go extinct, but almost certainly not humans.

Our ape ancestors evolved in an environment where temperatures were far higher than today. In fact, we're in a cool phase, as far as the global climate is concerned.


Sure, absolutely. I don't think humans will go fully extinct. But it doesn't make me any less scared for the future. In short term - massive waves of immigrants coming to Europe because their own regions will have difficulty growing anything and having enough drinkable water. A million refugees has severely damaged the very principles of the EU, what is several million going to do, especially as the entire continent is slowly more and more right leaning?

In longer scale, Ocean gets warmer, plankton dies, we start running out of oxygen. Not immediately - but slowly the percentage of it in the atmosphere will start dropping. I wouldn't be surprised if in a 100 years it will be common to have oxygen supply stations on the streets and if you can afford them - personal supplies of oxygen just so you can operate at 100% mental capacity. The rest will have to make do with feeling crappy all day long.

And of course we're already starting to see signs that we might have triggered a self reinforcing loop - melting clathrates releasing methane, methane heating up the atmosphere, releasing more methane.

No, humans won't die, absolutely not. But I'm 100% certain that the civilization as we know it is fucked.


Here is some research[0] that supports your argument, but it does get even more dire than your description in the end.

[0]https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12576-016-0501-0


There's a stark difference between "people will need to resettle" and "widespread extinction". Some of the coldest climates that are now largely uninhabited may thrive again, as they have in the past.

Climate change, at any large enough timescale, is completely unavoidable. It's also (to me) inconceivable that humanity will agree to limit its standard of living now just so that climate change can be somewhat mitigated.

> No, humans won't die, absolutely not. But I'm 100% certain that the civilization as we know it is fucked.

In that regard, I'd be much more worried about the prospects of a nuclear war than about climate change.


>I'd be much more worried about the prospects of a nuclear war than about climate change

Climate change seems like just the sort of thing that might start wars.


So does Twitter.


While I can believe we can manage the heat somewhat, I do not believe we can manage the declining oxygen levels. I think it's actually made worse by the fact that the decline is so incredibly slow - coming up with a solution will always be something that can be left "for the next generation". And humans can survive at 20% oxygen. At 19%. At 18%. But after a certain point, you're just starting to feel like crap, but hey - just buy yourself some oxygen, right? Free market will solve that problem. If, of course, the free market still exists at that point. I am of course being sarcastic.


Why do you believe that? Tibetans, for instance, are already genetically adapted to high altitudes where ordinary people may have some health issues. Mountain climbers can adapt to lower effective oxygen levels in a relatively short amount of time.

Again, some of our ape ancestors evolved in a time with far lower oxygen levels. After that, oxygen levels rose higher, but they have been drifting downwards for millions of years since then.


Our current society will go extinct and petroleum resources being exhausted means we may not be able to rebuild anything like it.


Petroleum resources will never be exhausted.

If fossil fuels become too expensive to pump out of the ground, some other process of creating them will replace that. Perhaps it'll come out of the atmosphere:

https://carbonengineering.com/about-a2f/


A most interesting event happens once say 25% of all cars are EV's, which may happen 5 years down the road. Gas stations will have to raise prices a bit to remain profitable, and some will have to close. At that point likely noone will buy petrol cars, as the writing is on the wall. The impact that will have on their price makes EV's the much better investment, even today.


I've mentioned before a friend that lives in a small town with one gas station. Their gas is expensive. So everyone tries to get gas when they do their weekly shopping 80 miles away. It's the town you would think wouldn't be a candidate for electric vehicles. But a Tesla Model 3, Late Model Leaf or Chevy Bolt could make the shopping run. Especially if there was a charger at the Walmart. Bonus you can top batteries up at home and not worry about running out of gas and getting bent over by the local gas station.

If the gas station stopped selling gas then electric would be the only real viable option.


> - Many people have a relatively short commute, so limited range EVs like Nissan Leaf or e-Golf do just fine.

Doesn’t this negate a lot of the benefits of de-ICEing vehicles?

Why doesn’t the government use gas tax increases as a tool instead of up-front discounts?

Getting the 100km/day driver to change from ICE to electric would have 10x the impact as the 10km/day driver.


> Why doesn’t the government use gas tax increases as a tool instead of up-front discounts?

Given the huge corpus of two datapoints (Norway and France), it seems that:

- if you offer discounts on EVs, people who own gas-powered cars will progressively replace them with EVs ;

- if you increases gas taxes, people who own gas-powered cars will spend their saturday afternoons demanding your head on a spike, and stop voting for you until you roll-back on the gas tax increases. (At which point, they will mostly keep not voting for you, but that's an unrelated debate.)

I suspect not every government has the benefit of choosing between both options - Norway might be an outlier here.

(And most government will probably choose the "wise" third path of doing nothing.)

My underlying theory (that must have been tested by Cialdinni, Khaneman or Ophra) is that rebates feel good, and taxes feel bad. But I don't have a double-blind placebo-controlled experiment to cite.


Norway is already about $2 USD per litre of petrol. In the US it's $0.79.

According to https://www.globalpetrolprices.com/gasoline_prices/

(Or $7.5 per US Gallon in Norway)


> - if you increases gas taxes, people who own gas-powered cars will spend their saturday afternoons demanding your head on a spike

This is exactly why gas taxes are bad.

> is that rebates feel good, and taxes feel bad

You can also like some California air quality districts are doing buy back low income peoples junkers and provide them down payment assistance for hybrid and electric cars. There is a lot less political blow back from those sorts of programs.


But, again, you have to be in a position where you can afford such policies. I'm perfectly ready to hear that Norway and California can afford it, and France can not.


ICE cars pollute especially strongly on short trips in cold temperatures as all exhaust treatment systems need to get up to temperature before they work.


Yep. Especially modern diesels are just a nightmare of incredibly complex systems all existing purely to keep the engine somewhat clean when it's cold - once it warms up(which can be as much as 10-20km in really cold climates, more than the commute for many people) it's fine, but keeping it efficient while cold is a huge challenge.


Gas taxes affect those who already have a gas car and may not have the budget to replace it.

Point-of-purchase taxes affect the choice of which vehicle to buy at the point where you were already deciding which vehicle to buy.


Point of purchases taxes are also poor in that they fail to reflect the damage that particular car will do. For example - a Lamborghini will have outrageous taxes due to high emissions, but a Lamborghini is usually only driven 10-20k miles in its lifetime, nearly never for commute, and usually only filled up with best fuels and well maintained. Then in comparison a Fiat Panda will have tiny emissions taxes if any, even though compared to that Lamborghini it will pollute far more through its lifetime.

No, I think fuel taxes are the right way to do this - the more fuel you use the more you drive = the more you pollute.


You can certainly estimate the damage a particular car model will do and impose an appropriate excise tax. While the damage to the environment from people driving Lamborghini's is a rounding error. So would a carbon excise tax. If you charged $100/ton of CO2 that would be about $15k on top of a $400k price tag.


You are missing the energy used to make the car!

Driving a vehicle on 10-20k is shocking from an environmental perspective once you include manufacturing.


Exactly!!!

I keep harping on that. Consider a 10 year old Toyota Camry. Soon as it was built we were committed to another 60 tons of CO2 emissions. Raising the gas tax doesn't undo that decision. And people don't junk cars because the price of gas. They junk cars because of maintenance and repair costs.

Raising gas taxes is totally weak sauce and invites political blow back. Better to just pay people to take marginal cars off the road. And discourage people from buying new ICE powered cars. Especially low MPG ICE cars.


> Getting the 100km/day driver to change from ICE to electric would have 10x the impact as the 10km/day driver.

-Not if there are 20 times as many 10km/day drivers as 100km/day ones.

Put another way - if the bulk of commutes are fairly short, the advantages of having these becoming electric is larger than that of electrifying the comparatively few long commutes - doubly so as an ICE is a much worse polluter when cold than at proper running temperature.


ICE fuel is very highly taxed already.

The first few km are the most polluting especially for NOx. Part of the push for electric is about NOx emissions rather than CO2.


Just chime in and say that hybrid vehicles have a fifth to a tenth the NOx emissions of regular cars. Currently there are a lot more hybrid cars available than EV's.


>Doesn’t this negate a lot of the benefits of de-ICEing vehicles?

Sure some of the benefits, but the context is in the discussion of incentives and the attractiveness for the average buyer. 10km/day drivers have their needs sufficiently met with cheaper, shorter-range EVs.


Most 10km/day drivers would have their needs met with a bicycle


In Norway in winter? Not so much!


In addition to what the others have mentioned, this assumes those 100km/day drivers realistically can switch to an EV.

Most of those live in more remote areas of the country, which have lower population density and as such get charging station coverage later.


It's really gas producing Norway: 3rd largest nat gas exporter. They're ~13th in oil exports.

...And 2nd in worldwide median income, which is half the real reason here. The other half is that Norway has very favorable tax treatment for electric cars vs not (which is at least mentioned in this article thankfully).

But being the 13th largest oil exporter seems like a very dim relation that's not really relevant, except as a cute thing. It's like saying "Wood houses popular in Granite-producing New Hampshire." "Ad blockers popular among ad producing community." etc

[note this was commentary on submission title chosen, which previously was the same as the article: "Electric cars grab almost half of sales in oil-producing Norway"]


There's a little more than cuteness here. If a country has a large economic interest in producing fossil fuels, there are often political forces driving consumption of fossil fuels, and undermining any and all attempt to even discuss the consequences of fossil fuels.

Looking at the US, the oil industry has long used its muscle to drive (heh) the use of automobiles and internal combustion engines, and to suppress initiatives to slow, halt, or reverse climate change.

And that's the interesting thing here: How is it that Norway's economy is so dependent upon its fossil fuels, but this doesn't appear to blind it to the consequences of fossil fuel use?


Apparently when Norway found oil, they were blessed with a government that was both honest and farsighted, noted the effect of the resource curse in other countries, called in a consultant from the Middle East who had seen it firsthand, and set up a system that carefully firewalled the oil money to mitigate its corrupting influence. I'm not clear on exactly how the firewall works, but people who understand it better than I do, have credited it with Norway still being a great place to live today.


> I'm not clear on exactly how the firewall works

The government has agreed with itself that all the oil money goes into a big fund, and that they only use a small percentage of the expected return of the fund per year.

They've also renamed it the pension fund to make it less attractive for the current ruling politician to use more for their pet issues.

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=no&tl=en&u=https%3...


You can't tell if it worked until the resource runs out.

It's always a great place to live while the resources are being extracted.

Tell me, how large is the oil industry relative to other industries?

Or to put it in other words, if all oil extraction stops tomorrow what would happen to the economy?


> It's always a great place to live while the resources are being extracted.

Intuitively you would expect that. The thing that's so difficult for us to wrap our heads around about the resource curse is that intuition is completely wrong here; a sufficiently valuable natural resource can ruin a country even while it is being extracted.

The short version of the reason why is that it breaks the alignment of interest between the rulers and the people. Manufacturing industry needs a healthy and capable workforce, but as this excellent video puts it, a gold mine can run with dying slaves and still produce great treasure:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rStL7niR7gs


> There's a little more than cuteness here. If a country has a large economic interest in producing fossil fuels, there are often political forces driving consumption of fossil fuels, and undermining any and all attempt to even discuss the consequences of fossil fuels.

-Do keep in mind the Norwegian domestic market for fossil fuels is tiny compared to what we extract; the obvious hypocritical overtones aside, there's no reason we couldn't sell lots of hydrocarbons abroad while still promoting cleaner stuff in our domestic market.


Norway has a lot of hydro, so they are also heavily dependent on renewable energy, and one is much easier to export than the other.


It seems that is because an Iraqi oil engineer with the right foresight was at the right place at the right time. Fascinating story! https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19594153


Easy. They just export the bad thing, and keep the good thing for themselves.

It's even easiest when you realize domestic consumption is tiny relative to exports, so the local industry doesn't care.

In the US for years it was illegal to export oil. So industry had good motivation to encourage local use.


One factor may be government, vs private parties, control of the companies. For the largest company Equinor, read this quote:

The current company was formed by the 2007 merger of Statoil with the oil and gas division of Norsk Hydro. As of 2017, the Government of Norway is the largest shareholder with 67% of the shares, while the rest is public stock. The ownership interest is managed by the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.


Norway also has a vert particular geography. It is the definition of a coastal country. Populations are very clustered around port towns. Average commutes are relatively short, and mountain roads between towns are not strait high speed highways found in places like the US. The country lends itself to electric cars.

>> The average trip is 14,5 km, an increase from 2009, and lasts for 24 minutes. The average length travelled per day by each person is 47,2 km, spending 78 minutes again an increase from 2009.

https://www.toi.no/travel-behaviour/the-norwegian-national-t...

Compare canada, with double the commuting distance:

>> The majority of people now work in a usual location, travelling an average of 22.8 km one-way in a straight-line distance.

https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/171129/dq171...


Electric car range is well beyond the state where it makes a difference whether your commute is 15km or 30.


Yes, but average commute is a measure of average journey distances which in turn speaks to average longer journey lengths. Range is still the predominant limitation on electric cars.

Personally, I only commute a few km each day. An electic car would be great. But I also live in Canada. My monthly trip to my parents (500+km, two ferries) or my yearly trip to Winnipeg (2000+km, winter, including kicking horse pass), means that an electric car isn't an option. And the local insurance structure means two cars is equally impractical.


You can go out and drive 500km (310 miles) right now, today, in an electric car that has been on the market for years.

If you want to do it without charging, you'll need to be careful with the use of climate control and speed.

If you're happy to charge once (20-30mins) then it's utterly trivial.

The restriction is not range - the restriction is cost. The electric cars that aren't just silly toys are still quite expensive.


For trips that happen monthly or yearly, you could rent a car.


Again, impractical. Renting would cost far more than driving a personal car. It would require logistics (pickup/dropoff, working hours, parking etc) and the car would not be properly equipped (Rental cars in BC don't have block heaters, snow tires, chains). And rental cars cannot be driven "off road", such as my parents' 1km driveway. A tiny honda IC can do all those things repeatedly without issue.


Perhaps it’s cultural, but plenty of my coworkers who drive to work in Europe still rent cars for long road trips.

It’s really not that impractical if it’s really occasional.


It’s really not that impractical if it’s really occasional.

It’s impractical if you are looking for an excuse not to change your ways.


>> It’s really not that impractical if it’s really occasional.

It is when I only have a finite amount of leave that I can take. If the rental car is more expensive, must be picked up/dropped of during business hours, has unsuitable tires for a Canadian mountain pass in winter, and will bankrupt me should I have an accident "off road", it isn't practical. If I just have the long weekend, just three non-business days, I don't want to spend half of those dealing with the rental car. I want to get in my car at 2am and be where I need to be by dawn.


Not one thing you said is a reasonable concern. Rental cars must be picked up during business hours (which is 24/7 in a lot of places), but can be dropped off at any time. Any decent agency will provide proper tires for your climate. Bankrupcy can be 100% avoided by paying the extra insurance. It is literally impossible to spend "half a weekend" dealing with the rental car.


The point being, again, it's not impractical to rent a car for a long road trip for everyone. It might not work for you, but then again not everyone leaves at 2am for a weekend trip off-road in the mountains during Canadian winter.


More than a cute factor, Norway is investing the wealth derived from fossil fuels in future alternatives to them.

And being the leader in EV penetration, Norway will be able to provide clues to the rest of the world about how the transition will go. Things like:

- At what level of EV penetration will petrol stations start to close? - What types of business models work for charging? Is it retail stores subsidizing charging stations to drive foot traffic while people wait? Retrofitting streetlights to enable on street parking? Subscription service or pay by the kwh or maybe by the mile? - Can EVs enable smart grid demand response?


Norway is rich enough to afford EV cars and the better environment that goes with it.

Although there are people with infantile Top Gear attitudes towards petrol (gas) and the noises made by V8 naturally aspirated engines, these people choose not to live next to really busy roads. Funny that. They don't enjoy the filth and the noise that much.

Norway is just rich enough to afford quality air and silence. They are not slumming it. Chinese cities are going the same way, getting rich enough to get rid of the moto-scooters and motorbikes.

In ten years time we will have people go to places like America to come back and joke about 'how they still drive petrol cars' as if the place is backward. See also Romania and people who come back from rural Romania to jest about them still having horse and cart.


Back on topic: Horse and cart is pretty eco friendly tho :)


Norway also gets > 90% of its electricity from hydro. Electric cars are a great complement to a country that has an abundance of hydro resources.


They could export the electricity and let the electric cars get purchased in places where they’ll get driven a lot more per day...


Geographically, Norway is a bit isolated, it would take some infrastructure to export that energy to more populated places in Europe along with some transmission loss (no point in exporting to Finland and Sweden who are in a similar boat).

Traditionally Norway has exported its renewable energy surplus as energy intensive metal refinement (steel, aluminum), but more domestic use is a quicker way around the problem.


In UK I find electric cars are significantly more expensive and out of reach of the average car buyer, even with government subsidies. is this the case elsewhere? why are they so expensive? EDIT: I have a hybrid, but the equivalent electric is double the price


There was a study recently that came to the conclusion that EVs are already cheaper to own in the UK:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/12/electric...

Is your context significantly different from that of the study? Or do you think there are unreasonable assumptions in there?


Thanks for pointing this out, I hadn't seen that and think the data is really compelling as all comparisons were for the same model VW Golf with ev, hybrid, petrol and diesel versions. The one cost element not in the article (likely b/c of the time frame) was repair and maintenance costs - which I'd also suspect the EV cars to fare better with.


Was rolling that over. I suspect repair and maintenance cost savings probably don't kick in very much until after the warranted period expires. So higher sales price means higher initial operating costs. Compare a couple hundred a month car payments with $30-40/month savings on fuel.

So someone buying an EV today isn't going to save any real money for the first 5-6 years. Who ever buys the car on the used market will likely do well though.


> I suspect repair and maintenance cost savings probably don't kick in very much until after the warranted period expires.

Warranty doesn't cover maintenance, like oil change, which EVs don't need. Other examples: engine air filter, timing belts, head gaskets, cylinder heads, spark plugs. Maybe you were thinking of car dealership maintenance packages that are purchased with a new car and cover (some of) that.


Interestingly you can't buy the electric or hybrid Golfs at the moment, they have been withdrawn from sale in the UK. My guess is the waiting list extends out until the new model is available.


I think they were saying that electric cars are more expensive to buy. - the tax breaks aren't nearly as significant in the UK.


Cheaper to own is irrelevant to most people. People that can't afford cars ride the bus, which ends up more expensive "to own". I want it to be cheaper to buy


With or with out the subsidy for the well of middle class?


I can only guess:

- battery prices are still 30% of the total cost IIRC

- economies of scale might not apply to EV yet. In larger volumes, standardized parts, you'd probably get lower prices.

It's a bootstrapping that could be eased by govt intervention. Making a stronger plan to migrate towards EVs so that manufacturers can safely ramp up production.


I bought a Chevy Bolt for ~$25.5k USD last year - including taxes/fees and the -$7.5k tax credit.


I don't know in the UK, but in France the most sold cars (Peugeot 208, Renault Clio, etc.) start around $16k (all taxes included). The best selling electric car [1] (Renault Zoe) starts at $19.5k (all taxes included, and including subsidies of $6.8k), but that doesn't include the batteries that have to be rented ($80/month) -> that adds $4.8k over 5 years. So in fact it's priced quite similarly to your Chevy Bolt.

So roughly speaking we are looking at $5k to $10k more for an electric car over an ICE one. It's not out of reach for all, but it's still out of reach for many. The median after-tax income in France is I think about $2k/month.

Disclaimer: all the figures I used were in EUR, that I translated to USD at current rate: so all the numbers will vary widely based on the EUR/USD fx rate.

[1] Figures for 2019 until May 31st: https://cleantechnica.com/2019/06/15/french-ev-sales-up-34-i...


I think fuel/maintenance costs are where EVs start winning.

France has a $.14EU cost per kWh and ~$1.40 per liter of petrol/gas. That comes to about $0.014 EU per km and around $0.07 EU per km in france.

This assumes an engine efficiency of 0.05L petrol per km (20km per L) and 100 Wh per km.

In other words, with a lot of driving, electric will ultimately be a lot cheaper to operate.

At 90km, you'd break even in france (assuming 5k price difference). That's about 18km per year.


> why are they so expensive

Because they are relatively difficult to produce, and require resources which are not extracted and processed at the rate required to sell as many of them as hybrids or gasoline cars.


Electric cars are more expensive to build, which may or may not be made up for by increased general reliability.

On the other hand, in Norway the vast majority of the price tag is taxes. This helps.


what's more expensive ? beside the battery ?


I'd guess much lower production volume.


Mainly the battery it seems[1]. Apparently the ICE costs about the same to the electric motors and power electronics, rest of the car is more or less the same.

[1]: https://youtu.be/N0RCZVY9Dvk?t=2141


I think most EV design are actually simpler than ICEs. No gearbox, massively simpler engine. Other than that yeah.. seats, doors, wheeldrive... same old.


It's not as much less complicated as you think, and keep in mind that there are a lot of useful side effects of ICEs: for example, the refrigerant/AC compressor can be run directly off the engine, the heat from the engine can be used to heat the cab, the cooling loops can be cycled by pumps powered directly by the engine.

When it comes to the pure drivetrain: yes, the transmission is simpler (though there still is almost always a transmission), but once you add in the accessories which make cars practical in bad weather, and the added chassis load (in the case of high-end EVs with close to gasoline car range), and the relative ease of mining and producing steel and other bulk materials vs. rare earth materials....

Well, it at least becomes a wash. For the foreseeable future, producing electric passenger vehicles that compete with their gas counterparts in a meaningful way will continue to be extremely energy and mineral intensive, and therefore expensive.


true, I was confusing ownership cost vs manufacturing cost.


Simpler doesn't imply cheaper. The power electronics and electric motors must be of very high efficiency to maximize range.


its just the battery I think


In my country the government subsidies for electric vehicles are setup just the way other subsidies are, with the same effect in the end. Making the underlying product more expensive.

If the subsidy is amount X, sellers raise the price by X.


Norway has a system of big one time fees for new vehicles based on weight, emissions and so on. An ICE car can easily have an added fee of more than 100% the base price of the car. Add some sales tax to that and an ICE car that isn’t ultra luxurious in the US but is big and heavy will be very expensive. How about an F-150 for $120k? Similar for an X5 40i. The equation is basically that you can get two Model3 for the price of an F-150


Meanwhile in Germany:

»BMW executive and board member Klaus Fröhlich told reporters this week that the shift to cars powered by electricity is "overhyped," and said that there is "no" consumer demand for them.«

https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/28/19154233/bmw-electric-veh...

* face-palm *


He probably means there's no consumer demand without massive government subsidies as in Norway.


I would give him the benefit of a doubt to have access to advanced, internal statistics. I believe him.


There is a solid interest in elektric cars. Even the old i3 is difficult to get by. I have quite some colleagues, who drive 3 series BMWs as company cars, who would like a BMW electric car. Of course they are eyeing the Model 3 instead now.


Amazing that this comment is downvoted, truly amazing.


Would you please read the site guidelines and follow them?

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Tesla sold 3,760 vehicles in Norway in June, for a 24.5% share of all cars during the month, and was also the top-selling brand for the first six months!!


Weren’t like half of those delivered in one day because they just started delivering them there, skewing the figures?


3,800 cars constitutes 1/4 of the entire country's monthly car sales?

Norway is a lot smaller than I realized (I'd guess the majority of US states have more car sales per month than that).


Norway population seems to be just 5 million over an area slightly bigger than Germany which has 82 million people, so it's very sparsely populated.


Sparsely populated on average. Most people live on the southern coast.


The year to date aggregates are here in the second row per model. 3000 is per month.

https://app.powerbi.com/view?r=eyJrIjoiNjFjNTI1YjUtODA3MC00N...

via https://ofv.no/registreringsstatistikk

The bottom row total are per month and YTD

As of March 2019 Norway has 2,727,686 registered passenger cars.[1]

Totals new cars per year:

2019: 78,209 (up to June)

2018: 147,939

2017: 158,650

Besides 1986 (167k), the number was always below 160k per year in recent decades.

[1] https://ofv.no/kjoretoybestanden/kj%C3%B8ret%C3%B8ybestanden...


States? I don't have numbers at hand, but I'd bet a paycheck that there are U. S. cities in which more than 3.8K cars are sold every month.


http://www.laalmanac.com/transport/tr02.php

Looks a lot higher than that. Though 2016-2017 took a slow turn.


Cars are ridiculously expensive in Norway, and lower taxes on electeics mean that Teslas can compete with that


So the question is: how is the lost tax revenue being made up?


Partially by postponing or cancelling planned projects. For toll roads by pushing back the planned shutdown of the toll collection.

This has been become a bit of an issue for politicians, as the trend towards EV has been much stronger than anticipated.


Meanwhile in Poland…

A new law is being prepared (just got through the senate and went to the president for final approval) that introduces subsides for EVs, and… wait for it…

Natural-gas powered vehicles.

Yup. LNG. And the subsidy for those is supposed to be TWICE as much as for electrics.

This sounds mind-bogglingly insane, but starts making a little sense once you realize that Poland has almost no natural gas production, and buys it, mostly from Russia.

There is no facepalm emoji big enough to finish this with.

For Polish readers, see http://moto.pl/MotoPL/7,170318,24943189,doplaty-do-samochodo... for details.


According to the article, they give up to $20K for an LNG car. That's quite a subsidy, if it's not a Google Translator screw-up. I was going to say that electrics shouldn't be subsidized at all (because that'd just be subsidizing the rich), but the amount of subsidy changes my position: with a $20K subsidy something like Nissan Leaf becomes quite affordable.


Yes, that's about right. $20k for LNG, and about $9.5k for electrics. Insane priorities, if you ask me, given our current climate crisis.


up to $20K for LNG or hyrdogen up to $10K for electrics

I think key caveat is in "up to".


I'm thinking I'd rather buy an LNG (natural-gas) it is the cleanest burning fuel, and the money goes to Russia (as opposed to Saudi Arabia).

LNG is the cleanest burning fuel, and the money goes to a democracy ( a weak democracy, but still a democracy).


I wonder, how many Poles consider Russia to be a democracy.



It is more than half now, and it combined the hybrid cars that often don’t charge from the wall. The total percent of “electric cars” is still around 5% overall.


Can you link a source for that?



I also have the raw data on type of cars, registration date, car owner etc from Hedemark/Norway if someone could find use of it.

We used it to develop an AI/ML model in PyTorch to detect ev-cars from hourly meter reader data. The paper: https://www.sintef.no/en/publications/publication/?pubid=CRI...


In Germany, hybrids are usually lumped together with fully electric cars. Even with that trick, only a few percent of the cars on the road are electric.


well that is why when you read announcements about upcoming electric cars coming from various manufacturers you have to look very closely. One term is "electrified" which in real speak means PHEV and not BEV which is what they hope you think.


How is the number of cars on the road now relevant to popularity of electric cars.


what's the sentiment about vw id3 ?


I'd say "nervous" captures it best. Or maybe the quip about the US, originally, "doing the right thing after having exhausted all other options".

Combustion engines, and Diesel especially, also require a lot more manpower to assemble. Spiegel, the largest and well-respected magazine, just quoted relative figures of 10 (Diesel):4 (Gasoline): 1 (Electric). So even if German manufacturers happen to survive the transition with market share intact, a lot of jobs are on the line.

And that's a big "if". Not only is there a lot of know-how that will become rather worthless. Consumers may well consider electric vehicles a new category, making brand value not transferrable.

The silver lining may be that the importance of cars for German industry, while big, is often overstated, especially outside Germany. The true strength of the country is in thousands of engineering SMEs you and I have never heard of, excelling in specialty B2B products. Stuff like pumps and industrial tooling and whatnot.


> Consumers may well consider electric vehicles a new category, making brand value not transferrable.

I guess this is the reasoning behind Kia's very strong investment in electric cars. They never managed to break the image of European cars having the best engines [1], and look at electric as an opportunity to break the stronghold. The risk for the European auto industry is real, and present in the market.

[1] European diesel and gasoline engines are indeed an engineering marvel, so the technological moat is real, but eroding due to a technology phase-out. Interesting times ahead.


Kia (and Hyundai their ouroboros relative; apparently they each own minor stakes in each other and which is the parent company depends on which financial winds you prefer) is presumably also feeling a lot of pressure from the home Asian markets. Nissan believed almost ten years ago that EVs were the only path forward and has R&D invested to that point (the Leaf, their Renault portfolio). Toyota also accidentally built themselves a fiefdom with the Prius despite their leadership still thinking Hydrogen might still upset EVs (which looks increasingly unlikely for cars; maybe for other diesel uses), but with the luck that a good Hydrogen drive chain is a good EV drive chain with a different "battery".

Plus, all the Chinese EV-only brands trying to disrupt the car industry entirely (BYD, Nio, etc).

With BMW and VW both talking about plans to have their entire catalogs electrified as soon as 2023, German manufacturers may finally be feeling the existential crisis at hand and are trying to compete.

(It's American manufacturers that are probably the most at risk right now. GM and Ford aren't yet feeling enough pressure from Asian imports nor Tesla. The irony of "dieselgate" helping the US EPA force the hands of European manufacturers more firmly towards EV fleets, but not appearing to make a similar strategic impact on American manufacturers fleets is probably going to be fog thick in the next few years.)


Those numbers don't make sense. It certainly doesn't take 2.5× more labor hours to assemble a diesel drive train then a comparable gasoline one. The difference is really marginal. Some parts are more complex and have to be stronger, but others are simpler.


Thanks, very interesting and understandable.

That said, fear is rarely the right reason to avoid evolving. Better embrace the change and make your employees expert on electric motors and assembly.


I am curious how well the batteries do in the cold temperatures. Though maybe it's only people in the south driving one ?


Depends on what you mean by cold. Well below freezing they're not very happy and have significantly reduced range and power delivery until they heat up.

This issue can be solved by pre-heating the batteries prior to driving.

With a Tesla you can trigger the heating from the Tesla app on your phone. With the BMW i3 you can plan a departure time, and if it's plugged in it will make sure the car is charged and batteries are heated if needed (Tesla has no such plugged-in restriction). Other cars may have similar systems.

Winters in Norway are usually quite cold, below -15C is common in the capital which also has the majority of the EVs. So this is something to keep in mind, but is usually not an issue once you get used to it.


Thanks for your insights.

Winters here can get down to around -25C and I'm curious what the real world performance is in such a case.

Even though I'll need to look out for a new car in the next 18 months, I fear it's a bit too early for a Tesla in these conditions.


My 2018 model BMW i3 reported about half the normal range when we drove it during -20C without pre-heating it this winter. When pre-heated the range reduction is primarily due to the occupants using electricity to heat up the cabin.

But, as mentioned that doesn't mean half the range is gone, after a while the batteries heat up and you get more available range. But it can take about an hour or more, depending on driving, so you're looking at a fairly substantial hit regardless.

Another point is that the car won't supercharge if the batteries are too cold. If you regularly see -15C or below, you might want to consider a car which allows you to remote start the heating and run the battery heater from the batteries themselves, like Tesla does.


Generally you get a big drop in efficiency on short trips, but once the car heats up it's not such a big difference. This means that in practice, cold is not usually a big problem: if you're going on short trips you have plenty of extra battery capacity anyway since you're not driving that far, so the efficiency drop doesn't matter so much, and if you're going on a long trip then most of your driving time will happen after the car has warmed up, so the average loss in efficiency over the total duration of the trip is not that big.


My EV has always done fine through northern Michigan winters. Range does decrease due to temp -- but it's only temporary, you get that range back in the spring when the weather warms up again.

And normal car stuff works with EVs. (Every EV can pre-condition, which is effectively equivalent to a block heater, already built into it by default so you can pre-heat your car in the winter while it's still charging, to get some extra range).


TeslaBjørn to the rescue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsLMlozXjhk

He reckons there is about 20% performance hit during the winter.

Ps. his channel over the years is quite informative (and funny)


Once all cars are electric is global warming no longer an issue? What is the main benefit of electric?


Air quality.

Even if there was no efficiency gain, electric cars move pollution out of city streets and into less densely populated areas.

If electricity is produced using less polluting methods like hydroelectric plants, then there's net benefit.


Such a massive push just for moving the pollution somewhere else.


Moving? Power plants have air filters.

I don't see how thousands of small scale filters that may or may not be maintained (ie. in some countries people cut DPF out) are better than one big efficient properly maintained industrial filter.

Also decoupling power generation from consumption allows for making overall car energy usage greener over time. Not possible with ICE. [1] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-15/electric-...


https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/electric-cars-...

This article says that electric cars actually produce more CO2 emissions. Hard to know what the truth is when sources are conflicting.

A conservative and logical estimate is that Electric Cars emit more CO2 gas overall because it requires an extra conversion step.

Gasoline automobiles: Source --> Kinetic Energy

Electric automobiles: Source ---> Battery Power --> Kinetic Energy

Of course the real answer could be far more complicated since even gasoline distribution causes energy usage itself. The controversy and hardness to find a definitive answer makes it reasonable for me estimate that electric cars don't really do any obvious net change in energy efficiency OR green house gas reduction At All.

It doesn't match the hype.


Stop spreading FUD. There is no controversy data on CO2 per km of electric with different energy mixes. Data of CO2 equivalent is fully available. (ie. http://www.neb-one.gc.ca/nrg/ntgrtd/mrkt/snpsht/2018/09-01-1...)

Yes, with current energy mix electric cars in some places might be emitting slightly more CO2.

Just for US data report quotes electric fleet averages on 54MPG - average MPG of new ICE is 25MPG.

> A conservative and logical estimate is that Electric Cars emit more CO2 gas overall because it requires an extra conversion step.

Logical is to compare ICE vs electric drivetrain efficiency and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnot_cycle.

Even with dirtiest energy generation electric cars are not worse than normal cars of similar size.


I'm spreading Fear? No I'm not. Doubt? Yes. I invite people to eliminate the doubt, but don't accuse me of something I did not do.

Also the conclusion of my response is that electric cars don't make any reasonable change to energy efficiency or green house gas emissions, which your response fails to contradict.


> Also the conclusion of my response is that electric cars don't make any reasonable change to energy efficiency or green house gas emissions, which your response fails to contradict.

Is this not reasonable?

US data report quotes electric fleet averages on 54MPG - average MPG of new ICE is 25MPG.


I ignored that because evs don't operate on mpg. It makes zero sense if coal was the original source or if nuclear energy was the source. Miles per gallon of uranium fissioned? What? Also your sources report is Canadian yet you quote US data. You sourced incorrectly. Unreasonable? Yes.

I'm not a biased person if you clarify the implications of your "us data" and it's sources I can completely reverse my opinion in an inhumanly unbiased way.


A gallon of fuel contains a fixed amount of usable energy. Motion from point A to point B uses a minimal amount of energy. MPG equivalent is a perfectly reasonable way to measure the efficiency of electric vehicles, and optimal if you plan to compare them to ICE vehicles. MPG is only a proxy for distance per unit energy anyway.




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