Jonas Ribe

Steve Wozniak's plan for Norway

Transcribed from an interview on a Norwegian video podcast 5 years ago:

People ask: what can we ever do to move towards the future? We have this great wealth and resources, oil, and it is going to dissappear someday. How do we plan for the future? How do we encourage people to be entrepeneurs and start other businesses and go to something else? Well, Norway is a place where you can have a national referrendum, an idea, we are going to convert this country in over 50 years to being electricity only. We are going to keep our gas money, but convert the country, so that all the cars, all the bulldozers, everything that digs ores out of the ground. All the machinery that melts them is run on electricity. The factories that make hardened steel is run on electricity. Every single thing that runs on the country’s electricity. And then run the electricity grid like the internet.

I loved this plan 5 years ago, but I never expected it to play out. Now it seems like Norway is falling into it by accident. The reason? Better EVs and strong government incentives for getting an electric vehicle (EV):

  • 0% VAT on electric cars
  • Low fees
  • No toll and ferry fees
  • Free public parking and charging
  • Ability to drive in bus lanes

These incentives are limited to 50,000 Evs or until 2017, if the number is not reached by then. There are already more than 20,000 EVs on the road in Norway and predictions indicate that we will reach 50,000 cars by sometime next year. The incentives have made cars like the Nissan Leaf and more recently the Tesla Model S very popular cars in Norway. Some think of it as just a fluke or a benefit for rich people who want to appear environment friendly, but in reality do what they can to escape government taxes. Others, me included, think it is a huge step in the right direction. I think the car market, starting with Norway, is ripe for disruption!