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How Norway became the leading EV market

How Norway became the leading EV market

The country of Norway only has 2.5 million cars, yet they own the largest share of electric vehicles in the world. Not only were they early movers, they were also early to market. Their incentive programs have sped up the introduction of electric vehicles to the population, but the buzz has been going on since the 1980’s.
A brief history

In 1989, Norway started its promotion of electric vehicles using the famous pop group A-ha. Fast forward five years and the Norwegian EV producer PIVCO (who later became Think) successfully operated 12 EVs during the Lillehammer Winter Olympics. By this time, Norwegians were starting to catch onto the concept of cars powered by electricity.

Subsequently, the government began to offer incentives and programs aimed at increasing the sale of EVs; while simultaneously working on reducing emissions. In the mid-nineties, they cut the annual registration tax and exempted all EVs from road tolls. The two-thousands saw free access to bus lanes and road-ferries.

In 2008, the city of Oslo launched the first municipal EV charging infrastructure program and by 2012, there were more than 10,000 EVs on the road, accounting for 3% of all car sales. The first plug-in hybrid vehicles (PEVs) were introduced in 2013 and only 691 cars were sold. By 2017, there were 67,171 PEVs sold and 141,951 battery operated electric vehicles (BEVs). That’s why Norway is currently the leader of the pack.
The current market

As of 2017, electric vehicles have a 39.2 % market share in Norway. That figure breaks down to 20.8% for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and 18.4 % for plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). The country’s competitive advantage is at least 5-10 years ahead of the rest of the world.

The Norwegian market is filled with early adopters that report unique user experiences and have little range anxiety. By the year 2020, the country aims to house over 250,000 electric vehicles. Since the beginning of this year, 20% of new registrations in the country of Norway are for electric vehicles. So they’re on the right track to meeting goals.

There is a good reason why the country of Norway owns almost a quarter of the world’s electric vehicles. They offer residents an incredible amount of tax breaks and incentives to purchase. Electric vehicle owners see benefits like:

  • Exemption from 25% VAT on purchase.
  • No import or purchase taxes.
  • Toll roads and ferry fees waived.
  • Low annual road tax.
  • Free municipal parking.
  • 50% reduced company car tax.
  • Access to bus and HOV lanes.
  • Exemption from 25% VAT on leasing.

As the market develops, the incentive program will be revised and adjusted accordingly. Plans to revisit these subsidies start later this year. In addition to supportive policy, Norway also has a loyal culture surrounding EVs. The Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association is an organization promoting renewable energy transport and currently has over 35,000 members.

The overall message the Norwegian government wants to send is that low and zero-emissions vehicles should always be more economically beneficial to residents, than diesel powered ones. Despite being the largest oil producer in western Europe, Norway plans to completely ban the sale of petrol vehicles by the year 2025.

It should also be noted that the sale of diesel cars fell from 31% to 23% in 2017 and parts of Norway have now started charging higher road tolls for non-electric vehicles. It is inevitable that it will ultimately become very costly to own a diesel-powered vehicle.

With a ban less than 10 years away, it seems certain Norway is determined to edge out petrol. Currently, the prices are already high and are projected to keep skyrocketing. The carbon price on petrol is 73 NZD per ton CO2. To achieve the substantial reductions of Norway’s goal, prices will have to be increased to at least NZD 520-690 per ton, or the fuel price raised by 50%.

The charging infrastructure

By 2015, it was apparent that Norway might not have been entirely prepared for the exponential growth of EVs. For an average 72,000 EVs on the road, there were less than 10,000 charging points. All of that is now changing.

The European Clean Power for Transport directive has promised one public charging point for every 10 electric cars by the year 2020. If the Norwegian EV population meets the intended goal of 250,000 by the year 2020, there needs to be around 25,000 public charging points available. In 2015, there were only around 1,350. So, it’s still a work in progress.

The good news is that the Norwegian government has launched a program to finance the establishment of at least two multi-standard fast charging stations every 50 km on all main roads in Norway. Additionally, a new network of 180 EV charging stations is currently being constructed. It runs all the way from Italy to Norway and is funded by the European Union (EU).

Continue reading:–n1XXSia7fUmeF6DjYAq0kvXV0J3gh6I6cU7rsiKNPlHo_Yt6VVD0B_wxIv_kMPzhSvFgg2CnB1KXp93_Mp7HaFwDFQw&_hsmi=60847057
• How Norway became the leading EV market

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ACT shines spotlight on Transportation Management Associations in new publication

ACT shines spotlight on Transportation Management Associations in new publication

Transportation Management Associations (TMAs), unique collaborations between the public and private sector, have been helping communities deliver transportation option that benefit commuters and employers for over 30 years.  With over 100 TMAs operating in dense urban cores, suburban job centers, highway corridors, and residential neighborhoods, the Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT), believes TMAs play an important role in how communities large and small work to achieve their transportation, sustainability, and economic development goals.

ACT’s newest paper, ‘A better way: Spotlight on Transportation Management Associations’, released recently, digs into the varying reasons for a TMAs establishment and what the community was attempting to achieve through the organization.

The paper features insights from public officials and private sector leaders representing TMAs from across the country and informs us how Austin, TX supported the launch of Movability Austin to address the impacts of rapid growth. “The idea was that we can’t build our way out of our traffic problems and heavily trafficked areas”, said Jim Pledger, Board Chair of Movability Austin.

The paper presents why leaders in the northern Denver suburbs established the Smart Commute Metro North TMO to help spur economic development in an area battling worsening congestion. We hear from the mayor of Salem, Mass., about how the North Shore TMA plays a critical role in spurring broad thinking about sustainability and growth, how North Natomas TMA in Sacramento uses its unique position to foster lasting relationships that improve transportations options, and how GVF (Pennsylvania) leverages its diverse board to be a statewide model for transportation analysis.

“TMAs and TMOs offer unique opportunities for public private partnerships, aggregating the delivery of valuable transportation programs and services that reduce costs for businesses and increase mobility for commuters” said David Straus, Executive Director for ACT.  “We encourage communities around the country to look at TMAs as an impactful strategy for addressing their transportation challenges.

ACT’s TMA Council provides a platform for existing TMAs and individuals and organizations interested in establishing a TMA in their community to share best practices and learn from others that have helped establish TMAs as strong public private partnerships. Read the full paper at:

  • ACT shines spotlight on Transportation Management Associations in new publication.
Uber’s goal is not to operate alongside public transit but to replace It

Uber’s goal is not to operate alongside public transit but to replace It

And that’s exactly what the company is doing in Egypt

Uber’s goal is not to operate alongside public transit but to replace it. And that’s exactly what the company is doing in Egypt.

Uber has built its reputation on being a 21st-century alternative to the taxi. Its supporters praise its lower fares, driver ratings and the convenience of being able to see where one’s driver is located directly on the app. There’s no question that Uber has brought some improvements to the taxi industry, but it would be wrong to believe that that’s where Uber’s ambition ends.

The future of human society is urban. More than half of the world’s population now lives in urban areas — a number that’s expected to reach 66 percent by 2050. And while the number of mega-cities is growing, the majority of that urbanization is due to happen in the developing world. Uber’s service is best suited to urban environments, and the company recognizes that as these cities grow, the nature of transportation will change. Buses and subway systems can move people much more efficiently than individual vehicles, making them a threat to the company’s survival. Uber has no intention of operating alongside public transit; it intends to replace it.

Uber does not seem to have started with the ambitions it has today. The company started small in 2010, offering only black luxury cars on its service, but as its offerings grew, so too did its appetite. The lower-priced uberX, which allows people to offer rides in their own vehicles, was launched in 2012, directly taking on taxi companies, and it was followed in 2014 by uberPOOL, which further lowered prices by allowing drivers to make multiple stops to pick up other passengers along a given route — kind of like a bus.

Its food-delivery service, UberEATS (formerly UberFRESH), was launched at the same time as uberPOOL and quickly expanded across the globe. There’s also UberRUSH, a package-delivery service, and a number of experimental services being run in developing countries that have added water taxis and rickshaws to its app. In 2016, Uber even purchased Otto, a company working on the automation of transport trucks, showing its desire to move into yet another transportation sector.

This isn’t the company’s only investment in self-driving technology, however, and its move toward autonomous vehicles has been fraught with problems. Its self-driving vehicles have been seen running red lights and driving in bike lanes, but probably the biggest issue has been the ongoing Waymo lawsuit over trade secrets that Uber may have acquired from a former engineer the company hired from Waymo. So far, the evidence seems to be on Waymo’s side and could cost Uber more than $1 billion.

But the company has good reason to soldier on toward the autonomous future. Looking at Uber’s financials, transportation expert Hubert Horan identified that Uber’s users pay, on average, only 41 percent of the true cost of their ride—the rest being covered by venture capital — and the only prospect for the company to cut operating costs will be to reduce driver compensation — or eliminate them altogether. In 2014, former CEO Travis Kalanick admitted that his goal was to replace drivers with software to reduce the cost of the service, but recognizing drivers’ concerns, he later qualified his earlier statement to say it wouldn’t happen in the near term.

Uber is taking riders from public transit, which is reducing the quality of transit and could potentially lead to less investment because of lower ridership numbers, creating a downward spiral in Uber’s favor. While replacing drivers would lower costs, it likely would not close the gap that Uber faces. At some point, the company will have to raise its prices, but it has to wait until the last possible moment so it can drive out as many competitors as possible before doing so, and this is where its conflict with public transit arises. As long as transit can provide a cheap, reliable alternative, Uber cannot significantly raise its prices. And that’s why transit is in Uber’s crosshairs.

UC Davis has released a working paper for what appears to be the largest study to date of the impact of ride hailing on urban transportation, and the results aren’t good. The researchers have found that instead of getting cars off the road, ride hailing is just getting people to cancel car-share memberships. Even worse, if there hadn’t been a ride-hailing option, “between 49 and 61 percent of trips either wouldn’t have been made at all or would have been accomplished via transit, bike or foot,” which means that Uber is increasing traffic congestion and emissions in major cities. Streetsblog USA puts the findings in an even starker context: More-affluent people are opting for ride hailing because it’s faster and more reliable than transit. This creates a vicious cycle where additional ride-hailing trips cause more congestion, which slows down transit — a dynamic that has been documented in New York by analyst Bruce Schaller. People who can’t afford an Uber fare are left with even worse bus service.

Uber is taking riders from public transit, which is reducing the quality of transit and could potentially lead to less investment because of lower ridership numbers, creating a downward spiral in Uber’s favor. And the company hasn’t shied away from taking advantage of public transit’s woes. It has already signed agreements with a number of transit agencies in major cities and suburban areas to subsidize Uber rides to transit hubs, and uberPOOL is increasingly resembling a private bus service with “suggested pickup” spots — similar to bus stops — for routes that run along the most popular transit routes. In New York City, Uber is even trying to replace the L train once it shuts down for repairs in 2019.

However, Western cities are not Uber’s only market. It wants to be where the growth is and thus is paying increasing attention to major cities in the developing world. Egypt is not only Uber’s largest market in Africa but one of the company’s fastest-growing markets in the world. As a result, Uber recently opened a $20 million service center in the country to support its operations across the continent, but there’s an even bigger investment that gives a good indication of Uber’s future ambitions.

In developing countries where cities are growing quickly and many governments don’t have the money to meet the transportation needs of its citizens, Uber sees an opportunity to get in early before high-quality systems can be established.

Egypt’s public transit is notoriously poor and has only been getting worse as the country’s budgetary woes have persisted, in part due to decreased tourism in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. Uber has decided to take advantage of the growing frustrations of average Egyptians with plans to launch its own bus service and expand its operations from Cairo, Alexandria and Mansoura to other major cities across the country.

The full details of the service have not yet been released, but there can be no denying that this could be Uber’s first step toward becoming the private alternative to public transit in cities around the world. The challenge is greater in major Western cities, but in developing countries where cities are growing quickly and many governments don’t have the money to meet the transportation needs of its citizens, Uber sees an opportunity to get in early before high-quality systems can be established.

Continue reading:

  • How about an Uber instead of the bus?
Hamburg and HERE to partner on intelligent mobility

Hamburg and HERE to partner on intelligent mobility

Partners sign Memorandum of Understanding to share data for enabling safe, fluid and emission-reduced traffic flow

The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and HERE Technologies, a global leader in mapping and location services, plan to share traffic-relevant data. The joint goal of the cooperation is to enhance traffic safety and reduce noise and pollutant emissions by improving traffic flows. For this, the partners aim to cooperate in various areas and to start joint projects. Today, both parties have signed an according Memorandum of Understanding in Hamburg.

As part of the partnership Hamburg will provide HERE with access to up-to-date, non-personal data related to public transit, construction sites, major events and parking availability. HERE will integrate this data into the HERE Reality Index(TM), its vast database of location-based information. Based on this data both partners can jointly or separately develop services and provide information to transport users, helping them to take the best decisions and enabling Hamburg to improve its traffic management. In addition, both partners plan to co-operate on enabling automated driving in urban environments. For this HERE can provide HD Live Map, its highly-advanced map that supports autonomous driving.

Frank Horch, Senator for Economy, Transport and und Innovation, said: “The partnership supports our goal to transform Hamburg into a model city for modern mobility – this will make traffic for citizens more efficient, comfortable and environmentally friendly. We want to offer companies that aim to develop intelligent solutions in our city a good test field. At the same time, we will prioritize the protection of personal data in all matters.”

Leon van de Pas, SVP Internet of Things at HERE Technologies, said: “Our advanced location technology and precise digital maps have enormous potential to make mobility more efficient, safer and sustainable for people. Through partnerships with forward-thinking cities like Hamburg, we look forward to demonstrating the positive impact of HERE’s technology on urban life.”

On March 15, 2017, Hamburg submitted the German application to host the ITS World Congress 2021 (ITS – “Intelligent Transport Systems”) to the European ITS organization ERTICO. Hamburg, which has a population of 1.8 million, plans to organize the congress – the world’s largest gathering dedicated to exploring the transportation of the future – together with Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. The application has strong backing beyond the city’s borders, with commitment to support from businesses as well as science and industry associations. The decision on which city is to host congress in 2021 will be announced at the upcoming ITS World Congress in Montreal, Canada, this October.

  • Hamburg and HERE to partner on intelligent mobility.
Porsche SE’s acquisition of PTV AG now closed

Porsche SE’s acquisition of PTV AG now closed

The sale of nearly 100 percent of PTV Planung Transport Verkehr AG (PTV AG), Karlsruhe, to Porsche Automobil Holding SE (Porsche SE), Stuttgart, announced in June, has now been completed.  PTV AG is a leading provider of software for traffic planning and management as well as transport logistics. The transaction was subject to a condition precedent and was closed in early September 2017. The aggregate investment amounts to more than 300 million euro.

Porsche SE intends to continue to operate the business as an independent company. PTV Group’s current financial year (31 March) will be changed to accord with the calendar year.

Vincent Kobesen, CEO of PTV, is pleased to confirm the closing of PTV AG’s acquisition by Porsche SE. “We have thus clearly organized the ownership structure with a view towards the future. This allows us to further expand our market position as the leading provider of software solutions for planning and optimization of traffic and transport logistics throughout the world.”

Further information on both companies can be found on Porsche SE’s homepage at and on the PTV Group’s homepage at

PTV is currently presenting its range of products and solutions at the NEW MOBILITY WORLD at the 67th International IAA Cars Motorshow in hall 3.1, stand no. B27.

  • Porsche completes take-over of PTV.
International Transport Forum and German government sign Summit grant agreement in margins of Frankfurt Motor Show

International Transport Forum and German government sign Summit grant agreement in margins of Frankfurt Motor Show

Alexander Dobrindt, Germany’s Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, and Young Tae Kim, Secretary-General of the International Transport Forum (ITF), signed an agreement on German government funding for the ITF Annual Summit on Thursday, 14 September, in the margins of the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Under the agreement, the German government will contribute EUR 1.2 Million to the cost of holding the Summit. The event will continue to be held in Leipzig, which was recently reselected as the Summit venue as a result of a regularly held competitive tender. The city in eastern Germany has hosted the Summit since 2008, when it was first held.

“Germany has been hosting the world’s leading transport policy event for a decade now. Hand in hand with Germany and our other member country partners, the ITF has developed the Leipzig Summit into a global brand, a must-attend occasion and the world’s premier transport policy event“, said Secretary-General Kim.

“I am very pleased that the government of Germany will continue their support over the next three years. Renewing this valuable partnership will allow us to further develop the Summit and enable the event to continue to innovate, grow and continue to attract participants from around the globe“, Kim added.

The Summit is the world’s largest gathering of transport ministers. Organised by the International Transport Forum at the OECD, it is attended by CEOs, heads of International Organisations and academics and has been called the “Davos of Transport”.

The 2018 Summit on “Transport Safety and Security” will take place from 23 to 25 May 2018 at the Conference Centre Leipzig (CCL) in Leipzig, Germany.

  • ITF stays in Leipzig for its summit in 2018.
Volvo acquires car valet startup Luxe to boost its digital services business

Volvo acquires car valet startup Luxe to boost its digital services business

After a pivot and months of speculation about the future of car valet and concierge startup Luxe, the company has finally found a home. Today, automaker Volvo Cars announced that it is acquiring the startup’s platform, technology, key staff and other assets, which it will use to put some fuel into its own digital services strategy.

The terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed, but we are trying to find out. The startup, according to Pitchbook, had previously been valued around at least $140 million post-money in its last round of funding, which came from Hertz in 2016 (on a $110 million pre-money valuation, according to our report). One source close to the deal tells us that the terms here were closely guarded, and that the assumption at this point is that it was ‘pennies on the dollar’ based on the last valuation.

Luxe’s service had allowed drivers to drop off their car at any point in a city where services are offered, whereupon a professional valet would find a parking spot for the vehicle, and refuel and clean the car if requested.

As part of the acquisition, Luxe’s CEO and co-founder Curtis Lee is becoming VP of digital for Volvo Cars. “The entire team is coming over including Craig (Martin, co-founder of Luxe),” Lee wrote in an email to TechCrunch. “Craig will be continue to lead our engineering team.”

The move comes at a time when automakers around the world are investing into and buying assets of car-focused tech startups to help propel them into the next generation of car ownership, and cars themselves. Other developments have included sizeable investments in transportation-on-demand startups, acquisitions of self-driving technology and consortiums of car makers cobbling together to buy large mapping and navigation providers.

Volvo — originally a Swedish car maker, before getting acquired by Ford in 1999, and then subsequently by Geely Holding in 2010 — itself has also been a notable player in this evolution: the company in July announced that all of its cars will either electric or hybrid by 2019. A month later, in August, the first rumors began to surface noting that Volvo was interested in buying Luxe.

Volvo already has an operation in Silicon Valley, and Luxe’s team will join that group, the company said.

“Our vision is a future in which technology simplifies life so you never have to stop at a petrol station, go to a car wash or even take your car in for service ever again. The acquisition of Luxe is a step towards realising that ambition. I look forward to working closely with the highly talented team at Luxe who created its advanced technology from the ground up,” said Atif Rafiq, Chief Digital Officer at Volvo Cars, in a statement.

Volvo’s vehicles address various segments in the car-making business — from delivery trucks through to high-end luxury vehicles, and this acquisition sounds like it’s firmly to help develop services for the latter. It plans to offer pick-up and drop-off services; and it will be using the tech for other services, too. “The technology behind Luxe provides the company with advanced algorithms in the areas of routing, logistics planning and arrival time prediction,” the company said.

“As more and more of our cars are connected, the availability of digital services becomes a critical part of the process of selecting a new car. Simplification of experience and placing control directly into the hands of the consumer is what today’s technologies enable, and what defines our vision in the digital space,” said Mr Rafiq.

For Luxe, this is a final destination after months of question marks about the four-year-old company, which is operational across some (but not all) major cities in the U.S., including San Francisco, New York and Chicago. The company had raised over $75 million in funding, with backers including Hertz, GV and Foundation Capital, as well as a lot of individual investors.

  • Volvo acquires car valet startup Luxe.
Taxify takes on Uber in crowded London taxi-hailing market

Taxify takes on Uber in crowded London taxi-hailing market

Estonian start-up Taxify is to go head to head with Uber in London’s highly competitive taxi-hailing market, and also has Paris in its sights.

Taxify said it will launch services across London on Tuesday after signing up 3,000 private hire taxi drivers, who have been vetted to ensure they meet local licensing requirements. It marks a major move forward for Taxify after missteps by the Silicon Valley giant already allowed it to make inroads in several cities in central and eastern Europe and Africa.

In London, it enters a crowded market where the city’s famous black cab taxi drivers and private hire taxi firms such as Addison Lee compete with ride-hailing apps including Gett and Hailo, which is now part of Daimler’s MyTaxi. Uber counts 40,000 drivers and has 3 million London users, who take 1 million trips a week.

Taxify is a fraction of Uber’s size – being active in just under 25 cities compared to Uber’s presence in nearly 600 cities worldwide – but runs on a lower cost business model, allowing passengers to pay marked-down fares and letting drivers retain a bigger share of the profits.

Taxify said on Monday it would take a 15 percent commission on rides booked through its online platform, versus the 20-25 percent Uber charges in London. Taxify also said it will accept cash as well electronic payments from riders, unlike Uber. “We will always be cheaper than Uber,” company founder and Chief Executive Markus Villig said in a telephone interview with Reuters.

Continue reading:

  • A Taxify cab drives in Tallinn, Estonia, June 13, 2017.
Lyft expands ride-hailing service across all of South Carolina, including rural areas.

Lyft expands ride-hailing service across all of South Carolina, including rural areas.

The ride-hailing service Lyft is rolling into rural corners of South Carolina, marking an ambitious experiment of city-driven technology in the sparsely populated countryside. Lyft announced Thursday that users anywhere in the state can request a car through its app, expanding far beyond its base of operations in cities like Charleston, where it arrived last year.

As yet unclear is whether passengers will take up the service, and whether drivers will log on to accommodate them. With the expansion that began last week, the service now covers the entirety of 40 states, including the bulk of the Southeast.

Lyft and its larger competitor, Uber, have tussled for market share in South Carolina through much of the year, but until recently, they’ve been limited to areas like Columbia, Greenville and Myrtle Beach, where they can rely on a critical mass of passengers.

Easing the expansion is a state law, approved in 2015, that requires only one permit to cover the entirety of South Carolina.

“Our goal has always been to create better transportation, decrease the amount of cars and traffic on the road, and bring safe and affordable rides to the entire country,” Jaime Raczka, Lyft’s regional director for new markets, said in a statement. “Through this expansion, we are one step closer to delivering on that mission.”

For its part, Uber has likewise begun reaching past the state’s main metropolitan areas, saying it operates in half of South Carolina’s 46 counties, including rural areas like Marion and McCormick.

Continue reading:

  • Lyft and Uber are also going for rural markets.