Standing on an Oslo street corner, you don't have to wait long to see an electric vehicle drive by. In fact, there are so many EVs in the Norwegian capitol city that they're making the bus drivers a little angry, if The Wall Street Journal is to be belived. EV fans in other cities can only dream of this kind of problems.

See, in Oslo, vehicles with a plug are given a lot of special perks, one of which is the ability to drive in the bus lanes, sort of like the HOV lane benefits that some green cars get in the US. This can save a lot of time during a morning commute, but it also means more vehicles in the exact spaces previously set aside for buses. And, according to Journal, bus drivers are not enjoying the company. Or, at least the one driver that the Journal interviewed. That man is Erik Haugstad, who said quite clearly that, "the EVs have to get out of the bus lane. ... There are too many electric cars."

There are quite a few EVs in Norway – the Journal says 27,000 as of April – and EVs regularly set sales records there. One reason for their popularity is the incentives, which include free parking in city lots and big tax breaks when you buy the car in addition to the bus lane thing. Whether any of this will change could depend on if there are other drivers who feel the way Haugstad does.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 20 Comments
      costeau
      • 1 Year Ago
      As far as I understand, this perk is already void where there's a car pool lane or dedicated EV lane present. (EVs can go in the car pool lane even when there's only one person sitting in the vehicle.) I do understand where Erik is coming from, as not only he, but a number of other bus drivers who work the routes leading in and out of Oslo, have pointed this issue out in local and national media during the past year or so. The solution I see at the moment would be to make room for such a dedicated EV lane, starting with major roads leading in and out of Oslo itself. I used to live in Oslo in the 90s, and come back to visit every now and then. I've seen such dedicated EV+carpool lanes leading in to Oslo from Drammen, but have yet to see ones going out the other direction, or ones approaching Oslo from the east, coming from e.g. Mysen or Moss, and there are probably a good deal of other routes without such lanes too. (Do correct me if I'm wrong, something I actually hope to be if such lanes have been set up since last time I drove on the mentioned roads.)
      Rotation
      • 6 Months Ago
      eric: Last I checked, EVs take petroleum to make and consume at least some petroleum to run, at least in their tires. A bus full of people, even a Diesel one, can be more green than even an EV run on hydroelectric power. And clogging up the lanes so that those buses can't get where they are going doesn't help the green situation. You can stack up the lanes head-to-tail with passenger EVs and it won't carry as many people as the buses will. Which means you'll need more lanes. Lanes made from asphalt. Which is petroleum. It would seem to me there is a good reason for having bus lanes. One which isn't served by having the lanes full of cars, even if the cars run on clean electricity.
      JB
      • 6 Months Ago
      The more private cars you have clogging up bus lanes, then the less efficient the roadway will become. The density of people in private cars is not very good, but buses are great. http://blog.busbank.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Bus-vs-car.jpg
      GoodCheer
      • 6 Months Ago
      eric: Taking people off the bus and putting them in EVs does not reduce the vehicle-miles of the bus, and only reduces the bus' diesel consumption by a miniscule fraction. Taking them out of other (ICE) cars on the road will reduce emissions for those specific vehicles, but will also reduce congestion for those vehicles, which will encourage more private vehicle commuting. It's a very complex problem.
      eideard
      • 1 Year Ago
      About right for the pig-in-chief who owns the WSJ.
      eric
      • 6 Months Ago
      That depends, Mr. Rotation. Are the buses diesel powered? If yes, than the tailpipe emissions can never be brought to zero, and it will never compete with a hydropower charged EV (at least on emmissions). And you're correct--too many EVs in the bus lane will slow bus traffic. It already has done so! Enough to upset a single bus driver. Call the waaaaambulance.
      danfred311
      • 1 Year Ago
      Remove buses, insert robotic mini taxis
      Joeviocoe
      • 6 Months Ago
      EV ownership is a stepping stone to Autonomous Car ownership... And autonomous vehicles will change the paradigm of car ownership from "freedom of one's parents" to "an appliance" which can be used only when needed.
      thecommentator2013
      • 1 Year Ago
      An EV remains in private ownership. Something Oslo wants to get rid off completely.
      Rotation
      • 1 Year Ago
      It is inevitable that EVs ownership will be discouraged just as ICE car ownership is. EVs may not use gas, but they share all the other downsides of cars, downsides Norway long ago decided they wanted to discourage.
        toyolla2
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Rotation
        EVs may not use gas, but they share all the other downsides of cars - don't get too carried away, Rotation, you're forgetting oil changes, significant brake wear and "engine" maintenance ? Not happening with electric.
          Rotation
          • 6 Months Ago
          @toyolla2
          Those are not the downsides I'm referring to. I'm referring to the social downsides, not the maintenance. On that note, my LEAF was recalled again. It's seen the shop more times than my ICE car in half the time.
        NestT
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Rotation
        If Norway wants to discourage car ownership why so many subsidies for electric cars?
      Joeviocoe
      • 1 Year Ago
      The annoyance of having EVs in the Bus lane is a temporary problem with a simple solution to kick them out when there is enough... Or do like California... and issue a limited number of bus lane stickers per year to EVs... that way the initial incentive is still there, but there is still an upper limit.
      NestT
      • 6 Months Ago
      It depends on the weight on propulsion system which is more efficient, bus vs car. Small ultra light weight cars can be more efficient than a bus system. And they take you where you want to go when you want to go not when and where the bus system want you to go.
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