Sture Portvik will take part in a panel on “The Future of Urban Mobility” on 2nd of April and in another panel on “What Impact will New Mobility Solutions have on Society and Future Cities?” on 3rd of April. Oslo has a pioneering role as the electric vehicle capital of the world. There is a lot to learn from the experiences of Oslo not only when it comes to planning for EV expansion but also in the close areas of urban transport planning and multimodal mobility platforms.

Could you briefly explain your role in the City of Oslo?

I have the responsibility for planning and deployment of all types of charging facilities for electric vehicles and other measures to facilitate the electrification of transport in the city, both for private EVs, but also for commercial vehicles.

These plans include curb side chargers, new green mobility houses, quick chargers in cooperation with private partners, and tailor-made charging infrastructure for priority segments like electric freight vehicles, el-taxis, car sharing and craft and services vehicles etc., both the hardware, software and the business solutions.

With the highest density of EVs on the planet the role is pretty hectic and challenging, however; also extremely interesting and rewarding.

Oslo has a pioneering role as the electric vehicle capital of the world. Is there a risk that Oslo is too good at being green? How do you keep up with the electric-car boom in terms of infrastructure for EVs etc?

The rapid and exponential growth of more than 100% per year does create challenges. It is a little bit like running after the train in the morning when you are a little bit late, and the train are moving faster and faster. Yes, it is hard to keep the pace and deploy enough new chargers when close to 60% of all new cars sold in Oslo suddenly are electric (either a battery electric or a plug-in hybrid).

On the other side, for the first time in history you suddenly have a mass market for electric vehicles which makes it possible finance the electrification of transportation.

What can other countries learn from the experiences in Oslo/Norway when it comes to urban transport planning and multimodal mobility platforms (as how to link public transports, e-cars, e-scooters, bikes etc)?

If I we look in the rearview mirror there are lessons learned; everything is connected to everything and you need a holistic (or multimodal view) view to succeed. Public transportation is number one, but zero emission green transportation is even better. You will also need more cycling and pedestrians, more car sharing, public transportation on-demand, green freight distribution and last mile distributions, electric taxis, e-scooters, e-bikes and zero emission car sharing, autonomous vehicles and of course more private EVs.

Also you need the enabling technology and the ITS systems to connect it all, and make it relevant for the users.

The electrification of private transport in Oslo is a reality and shows that green taxes are indeed working. People are willing to take green choices in their daily life if the can afford it.

To succeed you need a whole “package” of incentives, a big frontal sweep, and a critical mass of incentives to boost the deployment of EVs. It is not possible to things halfheartedly.

Oslo has the aim of having a car free city center by 2019. Will this be achieved (or is it already achieved)? What challenges and reactions have you met in this transformation?

Oslo have established North Europe’s largest car free zone in the heart of the City. 700 curb side parking places are or will be removed within the summer of 2019. The City centre is also closed for private cars to drive through.

Previous parking is now replaced with new cycling lanes, pedestrian roads, accessibility measures for the trams and busses and street furniture and a rich and vibrant city life.

The response from the public is increasingly positive, even if there were some scepticism in the start.

Finally, what are you most looking forward to by attending and speaking at VECS 2019?

It a very strong program with interesting speaker and moderators, and I do look forward to all the important discussions about the innovative and the multi-modal future that is just around the corner presented by leading OEMs and other experts.