Transport renewable energy becoming a Nordic forte

sustainable-minister-03World transport is slowly transforming towards a sector powered by electric and biofuels, among others. Nordic countries like Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden are at the cutting edge of this development.

This Nordic leadership in alternative fuels for transport will be highlighted at the upcoming Driving Sustainability Conference in Reykjavik later this month.

Norway already has more than 3,000 electric cars on its roads and Norwegian government policy dictates that charging their batteries is free of charge, zero emissions EVs get free parking, can drive on bus lanes in the city, get free rides on state run ferries (there are a lot of them in Norway) and there is no VAT on electric cars in Norway, so they’re reasonably priced. ‘Think’ is the leading producer of competitive electric city cars in the world. In addition, Norway produces the tiny Buddy EV electric car.

Meanwhile, Sweden has become the world leader in biogas for vehicles: many taxis and buses have been running on biogas and ethanol since 1996 and the biogas business continues to boom in Sweden.

Sweden’s automotive manufacturers are also pioneers in alternative power, with Volvo in a joint venture with energy company Vattenfall on getting plug-in hybrids on the market by 2012 and Scania already testing six hybrid ethanol buses on the streets of Stockholm.

Better Place is co-operating with Dong Energy in Denmark to set up a network of charging infrastructure for electric cars to be powered with electricity from the country’s many wind mills.

Finland has turned itself into a leading biodiesel manufacturing nation and is also home to Valmet Automotive which is taking over the production of Norway’s Think this year, and is also the producer of the exciting Fisker Karma luxury plug-in hybrid.

It is already well-known that Iceland is the world trendsetter in renewable energy production with 80 percent of its energy consumption from renewable hydro and geothermal sources. The tiny island nation has been testing hydrogen cars and buses for years. Last year Iceland signed an agreement with Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries on fleet testing of the electric i-MiEV and the development of service network for such cars. Following Iceland’s economic collapse in 2008, the Icelandic Government has been working on a holistic energy policy with the aim of domestically produced renewable energy taking over from imported fossil fuels.

Further information on these issues and the whole Driving Sustainability Conference are available at www.drivingsustainability.org

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