Iceland: The EV juggernaut that you don’t hear enough about
When it comes to electric vehicles, the majority of the focus is on the big players around the world such as China, Norway, and the United States. However, over the past few years, there are emerging “smaller” countries that are making the switch to electric vehicles at a rapid pace.
Iceland is one of those counties: as of 2017 Q4, 24.3% of all vehicles were electric. This is a staggering percentage and is surprising when you consider that only a few years ago Iceland was significantly lagging in EV sales numbers.
It seems that the popularity of environmentally friendly vehicles is on the rise in Iceland as there has been a tenfold increase in the sale of hybrid vehicles over the last 2 years. Icelandic drivers are making decisions based not only on car performance but also on how that car will impact the environment. This type of thinking might be what’s needed for the EV industry to take off in the same manner around the world.
Iceland’s Ring Road
For EV adoption to succeed, the driver has to be convinced that journeys will be practical in terms of having enough power to get from point A to point B. Recently Iceland’s Ring Road was equipped with sufficient charging stations to make journeys around the entire country feasible.
The last charging station was installed in Myvatn, North Iceland on March 26th, 2018. Now you will never go for more than 100km (61 miles) until you see another charging station. It’s predicted that this will have a knock-on effect of increasing the use of electric rental cars in the area. The marketing will be to attract tourists to take an emission-free trip around Iceland.
The implementation of this charging infrastructure bodes well for the EV industry in Iceland. Hesitant buyers can now buy in confidence because there are enough charging points to never run out of energy. Therefore, it’s not a stretch to assume that EV sales in 2018 will be better than the last year.
Incentives for making the switch
The government has provided a few incentives to opt for an EV. Currently, EV buyers pay no sales tax on EVs and there are also no import duties on EVs. This may tilt the decision for some buyers towards an electric vehicle. However, more can be done by the government, such as offering free parking.
Making the transition to electric vehicles is vital for Iceland if they hope to meet the goals of the Paris Accords. 99.99% of the electricity produced in Iceland comes from renewable sources. Only transportation uses fossil fuels and if that can be changed then you’ll be looking at an impressive model on how to create a “green” country.
The cost of running electric vehicles in Iceland is lower than anywhere else because of its strategic location above a number of volcano systems. The geothermal power runs the country and it will have no trouble doing the same for the transportation needs. The power below the surface is so great that some sidewalks in certain cities are heated.
A recent tweet aimed at Elon Musk shows further promise of the EV industry taking off in Iceland. The tweet highlights the fact that in a country of around 350,000 people more EV sales were generated than in Denmark and Finland combined for 2017, yet no Tesla service center is available in Iceland. Elon Musk responded that they will expedite the process of building one.
Iceland is the perfect place to roll out EV with the aim of 100% saturation. The small population that clusters around Reykjavik and relatively short commutes means electric vehicles are the way of the future in Iceland. As they approach the elusive 100% figure for electric vehicles more countries will take notice of Iceland. To see what they can learn and what it takes to make the complete switch to cars that work with the environment rather than against it.