Members of ElectricAid and Norstart, two pro-electric vehicle organizations in Norway, spent the weekend talking to high profile politicians in that country about the country's EV policies. The occasion was the annual Environmental Car Exhibition in Oslo and representatives from the two groups brought along a proposal to help the EV industry, one they wanted to run by the politicians present. The proposal reads, in part:
Today, Norway has two manufacturers of EVs, Buddy & Think, and a third one is in the process of establishing production in the district of Grenland. [...] Both Buddy & Think are feeling the effect of the financial crisis. Investors are fewer, and the assembly lines are operating at a limited capacity because Think lacks the funds to start full-scale production. [...] Over 2000 people are currently waiting for their ordered car. But only 80 of them will get one, unless Think receives governmental guarantees [...]The overall message from the politicans the EV groups got on camera was positive, but nothing was decided at the event. Watch the video (don't forget to turn the captions on if you don't understand Norwegian) and read the transcript of the interviews after the jump.
- NORSTART is now asking for governmental credit guarantees for electric vehicle production by companies that want to manufacture EVs in Norway, and believes that a guarantee program directed towards ordering parts for the assembling of the cars can get the production plant rolling at full speed again. (read the full text over at ElectricAid)
Useful info for non-Norwegians:
The so-called "Gold Card" mentioned in this report, has become a frequently used term by politicians and media alike after the Minister of Finance, Kristin Halvorsen famously called the Bank Aid package of last fall a Golden Creditcard in a press briefing to illustrate that the Norwegian State has plenty of liquidity to get themselves through the current finance crisis.
Rune Haaland - Constituted Secretary General of the Norwegian EV association Norstart:
Do you have a Gold Card for the Norwegian EV makers?
Kristin Halvorsen - Minister Of Finance (SV):
That is first of all to make sure that they can get bank credit, and that is why this so-called Gold Card, which is not a grant but the ability for getting loans to good industrial projects, will also benefit those who have good green project.
So that means that Elbil Norge (Buddy) who produces in Oslo and Think who produces in Aurskog will have a possibility to get included in these programs?
What's important for them is that they have a bank that puts those programs into good use, which gets them the ability to lend out money. That is why we have taken a lot of measures in that sector. But then it is up to the individual bank that reviews each application, which means there are no guarantees that each project gets funded. That being said, we have taken measures in the finance sector, so that there will be good prospects for funding good projects.
The limited access to EVs is critical today.
Inga Marte Thorkildsen - Parlament Environment Comittee (SV) :
Yes, I completely agree and we were actually on our way to contact Think to find out how it is going with them, since it's been a while since we last talked. We didn't have the time to get this done before the weekend
But we will get in touch the following week.
Do you have an EV yourself?
Knut Arild Hareide - Minister of the Environment, previous administration (KRF):
I have an EV in Oslo which me and my brother share.
And KRF are fans of EVs?
Knut Arild Hareide
Yes we are big fans of EVs and it is very exciting in these days since they are beginning to be very good & functional cars. That is why it is so important that we keep the EV production in Norway, now when we are approaching the real break trough
But the real question is, what can the politicians, KRF and society do to stimulate / keep EV jobs in Norway?
Knut Arild Hareide
I believe we can give the EV industry a better framework, so that the jobs stay here. Especially now that we have the financial crisis, it is important to keep Norwegian jobs. That should give us the ability to lay out a better framework and direct aid, for example in the form of credit to these companies. That should of course be for the entire industry. I believe the EV has become better and better for each passing year. Making a good car for both rural and city environments. So the cars are getting better and better and we have the expertise in several districts of the country. That needs to be preserved. We as politicians must work hard for that. KRF will do it and we hope we can get other parties with us on this.
So as a Parliament rep. for KRF, will you specifically ask Kristin Halvorsen to find the Gold Card so that we can get the Norwegian EV production rolling again?
Knut Arild Hareide
Yes there is no reason that the Gold Card should be preserved for the banks only. To give credit to these kinds of companies, I find very exciting, especially from an environmental point of view. So, KRF will work for that. Kristin Halvorsen has demonstrated the ability to think environment before, so I hope we can get her on board