This is Part 1 of my journey around the world to understand the future of transportation.
I want to believe our electric automotive and autonomous future is around the corner, but with the stench of clickbait fouling most rational discussion, I took a road trip around the world to investigate the narratives most frequently repeated by lazy media and gullible investors.
Let’s start with electric vehicles. Are EVs really about to reach a tipping point?
My first stop was Norway, the most electrified country in the world, where an EV “miracle” has allegedly taken place. The car? A state-of-the-art Tesla Model S P100D, a car I know and love. The route? Eight hundred miles from Oslo to Kristiansund and back, with a detour to drive the legendary Atlantic Road.
As usual, things are not what they seem.
This is the one used by everyone who wants to sell you an EV, save the environment, support Tesla’s stock price or make cool videos for green web sites: Fossil fuels are bad, electricity is good. Whatever the cost, by whatever means, people need to stop driving internal combustion (ICE) cars. In that earthly scenario, Norway is a sort of heaven. They’re so forward thinking that they’ve been subsidizing EV sales since the 1990s, but since there was nothing decent to buy back then, sales went nowhere until five years ago, with the arrival of the Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf.
Today, Oslo is the EV capital of the world. More than 30% of all new cars are EVs or plug-in hybrids. There is talk of banning ICE vehicles by 2025. There are now over 100,000 plug-in vehicles in a country of only 5 million people, which makes perfect sense. Internal combustion cars are taxed at 100%. EVs? No tax. That’s right. For half the price of a Porsche Panamera, you can drive a Tesla Model S with a universe of additional benefits. In a country where gas is $7 a gallon, charging is free. EVs don’t pay for registration fees, or for tolls or ferries. EVs can use bus and HOV lanes.
The list goes on and on.
With so much upside, those enlightened Norwegians have set the example for how to leave the dirty world of internal combustion behind. If only other countries would follow their example, the world would be a better place.
But it’s not that simple. Read the rest of the story over at The Drive…
Alex Roy is Editor-at-Large for The Drive, author of The Driver, and set the 2007 Transcontinental “Cannonball Run” Record in 31 hours & 4 minutes. You may follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.