One of the issues limiting the appeal of electric vehicles is recharging, but Oslo, Norway will be the world’s first city to mitigate that problem as it will install wireless charging systems for taxi cabs.
The city is requiring all of its taxis be zero-emission vehicles by 2023 while Norway is requiring all new vehicles sold in the country be the same by 2025. The new induction-based chargers aim to make recharging quick and easy, according to Finnish utility Fortum.
“The future is electric, and it is already here, right now. Wireless charging is a potential game changer,” said Sture Portvik, Oslo’s electro mobility manager, in a statement. “From 2023 onward, all taxis in Oslo will be zero emission.
“Together with the taxi industry we will make sure that the shift is as user friendly and efficient as possible. Oslo will always be at the front of innovation and we are delighted to join forces with two of the industry’s most progressive players in this game-changing move to launch the world’s most ambitious plan for wireless charging of a taxi fleet.”
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Fortum is working with U.S. firm Momentum Dynamics and the City of Oslo to make the system operational. The cabs provide an excellent test subject for the system as they need to recharge quickly. Finding a charger, plugging in and waiting for hours is untenable.
The city will install charging plates in the road while the cabs have energy receivers that allow for power to be transferred to the batteries. Induction is more efficient, allowing the taxis to charge while they wait in line at taxi stands.
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“Time equals money when taxi drivers are working,” Ole Gudbrann Hempel, head of Fortum’s public charging network in Norway, told Reuters.
Norway is probably the best place to install the system and work out any bugs. The country has the world’s highest rate of EV ownership, according to Reuters. The country offers a variety of enticements for buying an electric vehicle including free or discounted road tolls, parking and charging points. Last year, almost one in three new cars sold was electric, as well as tax exemptions on EVs.
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Reuters notes that with a population of 5 million people, Norway bought 46,143 new battery electric cars in 2018, making it the biggest market in Europe, ahead of Germany with 36,216 and France on 31,095, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.