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Leaf It To The Norwegians

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The DriveWrite Archives Topics:  Nissan Leaf

Leaf It To The Norwegians

Geoff Maxted
DriveWrite
November 3, 2013


Nissan Leaf Nissan Leaf
Five million folk live in Norway. That is tens of millions of people less than on this Sceptre’d Isle. They are a very nice lot although they insist on trying to force feed you with a pickled dish of fermented salmon called Gravlaks (Gravlax, to us) and make you wear ‘Heroes of Telemark’ style knitwear. If you read your Jo Nesbo novels you might be given to thinking that it is a land of murderers and rapscallions. Fortunately it isn’t.

In fact, they are so at peace with themselves that the Nissan Leaf was their best-selling car in October, beating the Tesla Model S which was September’s fave. Do you know why the Norwegians have taken to electric vehicles in this way? It is because their enlightened government offers high subsidies, free parking and many free recharging points. EV’s don’t have to pay road tolls and can use bus lanes. Just imagine! A world where you could use a bus lane whilst simultaneously thumbing your nose at the polluters with their infernal internal combustion.

So, that’s two months in a row that electric cars have trumped conventional vehicles and the trend is likely to continue. Obviously, petrol and diesel still rules out in the boondocks where the wild lemmings roam. In October, buyers bought 716 Leafs (I still can‘t get used to writing that plural). That’s more sales than managed by the evergreen Auris and Golf competition.

Obviously, in lands where the population is much greater, those numbers would be but a drop in the ocean, but it makes you think. How come they can get it so right and we get it so wrong? The intent has to come from the top. The car makers are doing their bit. They are producing excellent electric vehicles (of which the Renault Zoe is a standout) yet we, the drivers resist the temptation with ease.

What we need is a little less conversation and a little more action, please. In this country we have to stop tickling around the edges and get cracking. The billions about to be wasted on a vanity railway project might be better spent on a real, working EV infrastructure. Sure, we’ve still got the range issue but there has to be a large swathe of the populace who could and would use an electric car for their local driving if they only could (1) afford them and (2) top them up with ease. Could it be that the revenue from combustion cars is more important than the environment after all?

Or we could all move to Norway where they take it seriously. Scratch a Norwegian, they say, and they will bleed common sense. And Aquavit. Lots of Aquavit.



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