Gisli Gislason has been a lawyer, a real estate mogul and a film producer (he's behind the 2009 horror flick Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre. Yes, that's a real movie). He's also not satisfied with this long list of accomplishments. A few years ago, he moved back to his home of Iceland after a stint in Denmark and realized no one there was really working to bring in electric cars. Remember, at the time, Iceland was pushing hard for a hydrogen economy. So, he set out to be the change he wished to see and co-founded Northern Lights Energy (NLE) and then a spin-off called Even. Even's complete business plan will revealed shortly, but we spoke with Gislason at the 2010 Driving Sustainability event in Reykjavík, Iceland and got a preview of the company's draft proposal.

Gislason is clear that he's doing the best he can with the skills and lessons available to him. How else would you take this description of starting the company, as seen in NLE's timeline, from May 5th, 2008: "The founders decide to create an Electric Vehicle Community in Iceland (without knowing how)."

Gislason figured having vehicles on hand was key to getting people excited about plug-in cars. Thus, he ordered and then took delivery of the first Tesla Roadster in Europe. Last November, NLE and Reva signed a deal to bring Reva's NXR to Iceland. In the coming months, NLE will get delivery vans from Smith Electric and has put in an order for 1,000 Tesla Model S vehicles, which are scheduled to reach the market in 2012. Read on past the jump to find out how NLE's work will put people into these cars and move one of the last sectors in Iceland that uses fossil fuels into the renewable space.

Even is not thinking small. The draft plan says:
The challenge focuses on converting the whole Icelandic car fleet from fossil fuel to electrical cars, using Iceland's abundant, clean and self-sustaining energy sources.
Our goal is to make electrical cars a concrete choice for Icelandic commuters by the end of 2012.

How might this happen? Even will import the electric vehicles (EVs) and work to put chargers up around the country. Along with this, Even plans an aggressive public education campaign – even in this renewable energy capital, not everyone knows about using electricity in cars. Even says it has signed up around 50 companies and other entities (libraries, villages, etc.) in Iceland to either buy the cars or put up chargers, or both. Under the draft plan, which is subject to change, customers will pay the equivalent of $35 a month for unlimited charging at any Even-branded charger (which will be high-voltage AC fast chargers, and could meet the CHAdeMO standard and will, of course, use renewable electricity). Even thinks that the best way for Iceland to shift over to EVs is to have one charging standard on the island, Sturla Sighvatsson, one of the co-founders of NLE, told AutoblogGreen. Different companies can be involved in setting up the chargers, but for the customer, having every car work with every outlet just makes sense.

Beside the Tesla and the Revas, Even also has orders in for 20 trucks from Smith Electric Vehicles. Even tried to get some of the new Mercedes A-Class electric vehicles, but no luck yet (Daimler will, after all, only make 500). Even is also thinking abould getting Thinks as well, and we saw Sighvatsson talking with the CTO of Think Global, Egil Mollestad, throughout the conference.

Iceland is in an interesting economic space right now, following that country's devastating 2008 bankruptcy. For Even, this means that the government will not be competing to install its own charging network or push for its own electric vehicle fleet. Based on what we heard at the conference, if Even brings in the cars and manages to get their chargers in place, they will be the EV source in the country. People in Iceland have long been promised a hydrogen economy - which was never delivered - and, while they're aware that H2 could still play a role in the country´s transportation in the future, the time for plug-ins is now. They just need to figure out how, exactly, and Even thinks it knows how. 

[Source: EVEN, Mother Nature News]

Our travel and lodging for this coverage were provided by the event organizers.

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