As David Zipper writes “Electric cars are crucial, but not enough to solve climate change. We can’t let them crowd out car-free transit options.”
Norway, the world leader in terms of electric vehicle adoption achieved largely through government subsidies to individuals, has found that yes, this has lessened emissions but “at the expense of compromising vital societal goals.” The subsidies, which are largely going to those well-off enough to afford an EV in the first place, have widened the gap between the rich and the poor - which does not sit well in a country so proud of its egalitarian reputation.
EVs are still cars (obviously) and so cities in Norway have been largely unable “ to untether themselves from the automobile and enable residents to instead travel by transit or bicycle, decisions that do more to reduce emissions, enhance road safety, and enliven urban life than swapping a gas-powered car for an electric one.”
Zipper found that because of these unintended negative consequences Norway is pulling back on some of the subsidies and adjusting how much of the purchase price is tax free and reinstating parking, road tolls and other charges to EV owners. Let’s hope that other countries around the world learn from Norway’s mistakes and don’t put all their climate change ‘eggs’ into the EV basket as they have done.