Norway Installs Wireless Chargers For EV Taxis

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

can be reached at nickjaynes@gmail.com
  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

can be reached at nickjaynes@gmail.com
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Norway has set the ambitious goal of mandating all cars in the country go electric by 2025. What’s more, all taxi cabs in the country must be electric by 2023 — two years sooner than the rest of the population.

  • Norway has contracted Finnish utility Fortum to install inductive charging pads at locations where taxi cabs line up for riders.
  • The country has stipulated all cabs must go electric by 2023; all cars must go electric by 2025.
  • Taxis will receive wireless charges while they wait; the cabbie won’t need to do anything except park over the charging plate.

Requiring rapid electrification of its taxi infrastructure, though, poses a problem: How is a go, go, go cabbie supposed to pause for 45 minutes (or more) several times a day to recharge? After all, his or her income hinges on their constantly driving.

So, to accommodate cabs and the requirement they convert to electric-only propulsion, Norway has contracted Finnish utility company Fortum to install inductive (wireless) chargers where cabbies queue up to collect riders.

“Time equals money when taxi drivers are working,” Ole Gudbrann Hempel, head of Fortum’s public charging network in Norway, told Reuters.

BMW’s inductive charging technology. | Photo: BMW

 

The plates will send charge to the taxis while they sit. The cabbies inside won’t need to do anything. So long as they are positioned relatively closely to the plate, the electric taxi will receive enough charge for at least a few additional miles of range.

Inductive charging has been a point of contention in the electric-vehicle community and industry. Some believe that, compared to wired charging, wireless charging is a fool’s errand, because of its relative low energy transfer rates and additional cost.

Since it’s unreasonable to ask cab drivers to plug in throughout the day, at least offering the olive branch that is inductive charging is a wise move on Norway’s part.

It seems Norwegians are mostly onboard with the government’s determined electrification ambitions. One in three new cars sold in Norway last year was an EV. In fact, Norway sold 46,143 new EVs in 2018 alone, which makes it the largest EV market in Europe by far.

Most commuters drive fewer than 40 miles per day. Fewer still drive more than 80 miles each day. But by contrast, taxi drivers can clock hundreds of miles per day. Given the still relatively long recharge times offered by even the most high-end EVs, a driver of an all-electric taxi could face hours of downtime waiting for his or car to recharge.

As much as I hate to say it, it seems to me that Norway’s all-electric vehicle regulations are jumping the gun a bit. I don’t mean in terms of climate concerns but in terms of technology.

Britain and France have similar goals for their vehicle fleets, requiring the switch from fossil fuels to electric by 2040. Certainly by then carmakers will have solid-state batteries and incredibly quick recharge times for even the most basic entry-level EV.

So long as Norwegian cabbies can hack it until long-range, fast-charging hit the market, they should be fine.


About the Author

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

can be reached at nickjaynes@gmail.com
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