Bergen Energy Lab (BEL)
Half Day Seminar

Vehicles for a sustainable future

Norway is leading the way towards a sustainable transport sector. In March, as much as 54 % of cars sold in Hordaland were electric. Read about our recent half day seminar, where we put the spotlight on vehicles for a sustainable future.

Low Emission Vehicle Display
Vegard Frihammer from Greenstat showing his hydrogen powered car.
Anne-Kathrine Torvund
Torfinn Belbo
Torfinn Belbo from ZERO presented the status of green transport in Norway.
Anne-Kathrine Torvund
Interesting conversations during the coffee break.
Anne-Kathrine Torvund
Electric Bike
Kårstein Måseide from the Centre for climate and energy transformation tested the new electric bicycle used by DB Schenker.
Anne-Kathrine Torvund
Panel Debate
Helene Frihammer from Klimapartnere Hordaland lead the panel discussion featuring (from left) Sølve Sondbø from the Hordaland County Council, Tomas Fiksdal from Greenstat, Jon Gaute Kvinge from BIR and Morten Woldseth from Skedsmo Municipality.
Klimapartnere Hordaland

Main content

Longer range, better batteries, wider selection of car models and significant tax exemptions have spurred a massive growth of electric passenger cars in Norway. But how do we get to a 100 % share of low-carbon vehicles? How does the transition to a sustainable transport sector look for other vehicle types, and can hydrogen be the solution for long-distance transport? In this joint half-day seminar organized in cooperation between Klimapartnere Hordaland, the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) and Bergen Energy Lab, we put the spotlight on vehicles for a sustainable future.

Following a networking lunch, the dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Science at HVL, Geir Anton Johansen, officially opened the seminar by stressing the importance of collaboration in developing the vehicles of tomorrow. By bringing together actors from both the automotive and energy industry, the authorities as well as academics, we hope seminars like this might lead to more collaboration across entities and perhaps even inspire new projects.

Materials for a more sustainable automotive future

International cooperation is just as important, and the first speaker of the day was an expert on lightweight materials from Germany. Dr. Robert Schneider from Aalen University demonstrated how weight reductions in vehicles could save fuel and reduce emissions, and thus improve the sustainability of automotive structures. He gave an example of using aluminum instead of steel, which would lead to a weight saving of about 40 % and by that reduce fuel consumption. However, we also need to consider the whole lifecycle of the car and take into account the production of the material. Producing one kilogram of aluminum requires about 10 times as much energy and emits about 10 times as much CO2 as producing one kilogram of steel. Choosing aluminum would therefore only make sense if the car is going to be driven a significant distance (more than 100 000 kilometers to reach break-even), and the aluminum is recycled.

The status of Green Transport

Torfinn Belbo from ZERO gave an overview of the status of green transport in Norway today. The government has decided to prolong the very important tax exemptions for electric vehicles at least until 2021, and there is a new ruling from the parliament that says that electric vehicles should pay max 50 % of toll, parking and ferry costs. These are two extremely important policies, which are necessary if we are going to reach the very ambitious long-term goals in the national transport plan. The goals say that from 2025, all new passenger cars and light vans should be emission free. In addition, all new heavy vans should be emission free and commercial transport in the largest cities should be close to emission free by 2030.

A Sustainable Drive

Many new technologies are coming to market in the next couple of years, both in terms of passenger vehicles, light vans, heavy-duty trucks and construction machines. Scania has the ambition to lead the shift to a sustainable transport system, and base their approach on three pillars: energy efficiency, alternative fuels and electrification, and smart and safe transport. Ulf Christiansen, marketing manager at Scania, focused mainly on the pillar concerning alternative fuels and electrification in his presentation. Scania has the broadest range of trucks and buses for alternative fuels, with the potential of reducing CO2 emissions by up to 90 %. Scania is also working a lot on electrification, including efforts on hybrid buses and trucks, battery development & production as well as building electric roads.

Charging Forwards

Electrification is also important for the regional power company in Bergen, BKK. Henrik Håkonsen told about BKK’s internal goal of switching their about 500 vehicles to fossil-free alternatives by 2030. They have also built a lot of charging infrastructure in western Norway so far, including 115 superchargers. There is no doubt that BKK has played a big part in western Norway having the largest share of electric vehicles per capita in Norway.

Hydrogen Possibilities

Electric vehicles are excellent in many cases, but faces limitations in terms of range, charging time and battery weight. Hydrogen could be a good alternative to overcome these challenges, and according to Vegard Frihammer from Greenstat, hydrogen vehicles could complement electric vehicles rather than compete with them. Together, hydrogen and electric vehicles can work towards a fossil-free transport sector. The important thing is that we achieve our goals of zero-emission transport, and hydrogen can be a big part of that.

Green Transport

Norway’s largest grocery wholesaler, ASKO, is a company in the forefront of the green shift. Rune Listhaug, marketing and logistics manager in ASKO VEST presented their efforts on becoming sustainable and climate neutral. The company has a national goal of reducing their energy use by 20 % by 2020, produce their own renewable energy equivalent to 100 % of their energy use, and run their vehicles on 100 % renewable fuel. Not only are they an early adopter of new and climate friendly transport technologies, but they have also already installed large amounts of solar photovoltaic panels and wind turbines as well as a facility producing hydrogen from solar cells for use in their vehicles. ASKO will make use of electric- and hydrogen powered distribution vehicles in the next few years.

Panel Discussion

The seminar was rounded off with a panel discussion on the main challenges and opportunities for the transport sector going forward, featuring Sølve Sondbø from the Hordaland County Council, Morten Woldseth from Skedsmo Municipality, Tomas Fiksdal from Greenstat and Jon Gaute Kvinge from BIR.

Low Carbon Vehicle Display & Test Drive

After completion of the program, the participants moved outside in the Bergen sun for a display and test-drive of several low-carbon vehicles. Both hydrogen and electric cars were present, in addition to a new electric bicycle used by DB Schenker for distributing packages within the city of Bergen. The bicycle can carry up to 300 kg of goods, and has a range of about 80 kilometers. Currently one bicycle is in operation in Bergen, but 15 to 20 more are coming to Norwegian cities in the near future. Innovative solutions like this are needed if we are going to make the transition to a sustainable transport sector.

Read more in the presentations below, and see recordings of all the talks in the menu to the right!