Mer’s perspective on rapid charging network in Norway
Norway – known as the leading EV country
Over 19 000 EV’s has been sold in Norway so far this year, and the fleet of EV’s is soon passing the amount of 400 000. Every second car sold in Norway, is an EV – and with the fast growing fleet comes the need for a well developed charging network. Our CEO, Kristoffer Thoner, was invited to the podcast “E24-podden” to talk about rapid chargers and Mer’s perspective on the development of the charging network in Norway. Also joining the podcast is Thor Egil Braadland from the Norwegian Automotive Association (NAF).
– The EV numbers in March shows that over 50% of the cars sold, were EV’s. When you combine the BEV’s with the PHEV’s – you get a market share between 80-90%, says Thor Egil Braadland, communication advisor at NAF and continues
– Although, we are a bit behind schedule, given the ICE ban in 2025, but it’s still early in 2021. Our guess is that people are waiting for the new EV’s launching later this year, he states.
NAF is soon to release a yearly report that will also cover the areas of charging network. The association has calculated that Norway will have to build 1100 new chargers around the country, to serve the existing fleet of EV’s.
– Based on the sale of EV’s, driving patterns, consumption, charging capacities and time, we have calculated that the network will have to expand with 1100 chargers to meet the current demands. We believe that the charging operators are too conservative in their network development, Braadland says.
Listen to the pod here (in Norwegian)
What makes a good charging location?
Mer Norway has based it’s charging network on the fact that each charging station has to be commercially sustainable – rather than leaning on heavy subsidier. Although Mer has chargers from Mandal in the south to Tromsø in the north – most of the charging stations are build and paid by the company itself, with the intention of the station becoming financial sustainable within a short period of time. Kristoffer Thoner explains:
– I think we have to acknowledge that some queue at certain chargers will occur even with our best effort, and also the traffic peaks we experience during holidays, is difficult to avoid. On a general note, the everyday life with EV in Norway is much easier – especially around the corridors and larger cities, Kristoffer Thoner says and continues
– Before establishing a charging station, we evaluate the traffic, customer base, the already existing electrical infrastructure and facilities on the location. Our strategy is that the charging station has to be commercially sustainable, and in our experience – these factors are essential to obtain that, says Thoner.
– We believe that the charging operators are somewhat conservative in their network establishments, and we are sceptic to the statements that the operators want to make money from day 1, says Braadland and elaborates
– According to our calculations and surveys, 4 out of 10 people does not have access to a charger at home – that means that they have to charge some place else – and therefore we believe that 1100 new chargers is reasonable.
– At Mer, we are developing the network we can financially bare, and we are not profitable from day one – that wouldn’t be realistic to aim for, Thoner admits and continues
– However, we also believe that heavy subsidizing is not the answer, that could for instance lead to monopoly on certain corridors. We also want to bring the business model to other countries, and leaning on subsidier isn’t a part of that plan.
"The EV market in Europe is still immature - but will change drastically and fast. From the EU's Green Deal to the car manufacturers declaration to go full electric - we are ready to take our experience within the field to new markets!"
Kristoffer Thoner - CEO of Mer Group
Thoughts on Mer entering the European EV market
Mer, together with Statkraft, has previously announced that they have aquired 51% of the Swedish company Bee Charging Solutions AB, giving the Mer establishment in Sweden – and in the Nordics – a unique starting point. Furthermore, the companies in UK and Germany gives Mer an interesting position in Europe:
– We believe that what took 10 years in Norway will take way less time in larger economies and markets – that’s why we are positioned here to take part in the growth and development, Thoner says and adds
– The EV market in Europe is still immature – but will change drastically and fast! We have chosen our markets carefully, and now we will choose our segments with equal care – and focus on them to win. We are ready to take our experience within the field to new markets!