The Electric Vehicle (EV) revolution in the Nordics is a story 30 years in the making. Industry pundits like to refer to the story of 1980s Oslo-born pop band A-ha!, who made headlines after purchasing a converted battery-run Fiat Panda at an EV conference in 1989. In a series of anecdotal incidents to protest against disincentives to owning an EV in Norway, the ‘Take on Me’ band drove without paying road tolls, and spent years buying back their unregistered car after it was repeatedly confiscated and auctioned.
Fast forward three decades, and a shift in policy support across the Nordics has significantly influenced EV technology adoption. The region now represents the third-largest electric car market by sales volume globally, after China and the United States. On the upswing since 2010, the total EV stock in the Nordics is projected to reach 4 million units by 2030.
Since the unruly Fiat Panda days, Norway has made a commitment to decarbonise the energy system and has been offering financial incentives such as road toll exemptions and tax breaks to reduce EV purchase price. 70 per cent of new car sales in Norway are now electric.
Neighbour Sweden offers generous grants to EV owners, such as rebates and bonuses of up to £5,000 paid every six months for new buyers. After a 2016 policy shift eroded Denmark’s consumer confidence (EV registration tax was gradually reintroduced), the government announced a tax plan in late 2020 to increase ownership to 775,000 by 2030.
Policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are also supporting EV charging initiatives. In 2015, Norway's government announced its goal to provide at least one fast charging station every 50km on key roads as well as the introduction of supercharger points allowing for two dozen cars to charge at the same time. There are now 16,000 charging points across the country.
Another front-runner in EV technology, the Netherlands, has seen its EV stock double since 2019 and is looking at ways to reduce growing pressure on charging stations, as one station is now shared by 4.6 cars on average.
Amid this shift to electric mobility, the Nordics understood early that access to EV batteries would be one of the biggest issues for green restructuring. They have invested heavily to become the new EV battery manufacturing cluster in Europe, where the EV battery market is expected to reach 450 gigawatt hours per year by 2030.
To answer manufacturing demand, Swedish battery maker Northvolt built Europe’s largest factory for EV batteries. Based in north-eastern Skellefteathe, in proximity to raw materials such as nickel and lithium, this factory is rivalling Tesla's Nevada "Giga Factory” and is hoping to contend with top Asian players. Continuing to seize on the opportunities EV presents, the organisation is constructing a further factory in northern Sweden, just south of the Arctic Circle.
In June 2021, the company raised £2.02 billion in equity to expand its capacity, with Northvolt’s CEO saying contracts with Volkswagen, BMW and Scania totalled £19.8 billion. Northvolt is aiming for a 25 per cent market share and two more plants in Europe by 2030.
Morrow Batteries, a growing Norwegian EV battery maker with the ambition to create the world’s most cost-effective battery cells, was valued at £122 million after completing a £18.75 million private placement last week. It will fund Morrow’s Giga Factory in 2024 in Agder, close to raw materials and surplus renewable energy. The plant is expecting to supply batteries for more than 700,000 electric vehicles.
There is no doubt that Nordics’ reiterated commitments to reducing emissions will continue to guide the world’s sustainable transport policy-making.
As governments and organisations around the world continue to grapple with the threat of climate change, EV will be a huge growth area and key to limiting carbon emissions. Murray McIntosh works with experts within EV to support businesses in their growth plans, by finding the right talent for organisations when they need it. For more information on our current available roles in the sector, or to discuss your hiring strategy, please contact us.
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