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Electric cars with scratches in the varnish

In Norway, the electric car is hailed as a symbol of the green shift. Can it live up to its reputation, also internationally?

(PS. This article is machine-translated from Norwegian)

Frederic Hauge and Bellona have blessed the electric cars and made them an environmental icon, and thus it has become almost impossible to have a critical discussion about the electric car in Norway. By comparison, Norway is the largest electric car market in the world, both in the share of the total market and in relation to the population. The Norwegian authorities have granted the electric cars subsidies and benefits that hardly any other industrial sector has.
But Norway is also the only country in Europe that has a surplus of renewable and, in principle, perpetual hydropower to discharge. In other European countries it is completely different.

Where does the power come from? France will ban diesel and petrol cars after 2040. The automotive industry is investing tremendously in electric cars, and country after country wants to phase out cars that run on diesel and gasoline. But no idea where the power to this giant fleet of electric cars is coming from.
What the media and politicians seem to forget is that electricity is not an energy source, but an energy carrier. Where should the power to drive electric cars come from? Nuclear power plants account for 75 percent of France's electricity generation, so an electric car in France de facto runs on nuclear power.
An electric car in Germany is and will be a coal car, no matter how much it is hyped. In the UK, according to government figures, over 2,3 millions of families have to choose between eating well or staying warm in winter. It is hard to imagine that any of these will give priority to buying an electric car.
Globally, 68 percent of the electricity comes from coal-fired power plants, which means that on a global level, the "clean" electric car is 68 percent coal-powered.
Norway is number one in the world in terms of electric vehicles' share of the market (29,1 per cent). Number two is the Netherlands (6,4 per cent), but in the Netherlands plug-in hybrids apply, and from 2015 to 2016 the turnover of these cars was halved.
Even such an innovative industrial nation as Germany is far behind us. In 2015, Norway had 84 electric cars, while Germany – with 000 times as many inhabitants – only had 17. Germany with its famous Energy View ("energy change") is not even among the top ten in the world in market share.

The electric car is a blind spot if it is the Earth's environment you are concerned about.

Energy probate. The electric car is a blind spot if it is the Earth's environment you are concerned about. It is an attempt to maintain private motorism at a time when we should look for opportunities and solutions that will reduce it.
A country like Norway uses energy and resources as if we had 3,5 earths at our disposal. If we are to align with the Earth's resilience, we must reduce our ecological footprint by 70 percent. For humanity as a whole, the footprint is 1,6 times the endurance.
As Mads Løkeland writes:
“Today, Verda has 1 billion passenger cars and 7,3 billion people. If we reduce the number of cars by 1/3 as a contribution to the ecological balance, we get 1 car per 11 inhabitants as an average in the world.
11 people per car saw a ceiling on 450 passenger cars in Norway. Today we have 000 million passenger cars in Norway, so more than 2,5 out of 4 cars must leave Norwegian roads if we are to go down to the level that the Earth tolerates when it comes to climate and the natural environment. The alternative is, of course, that the number of cars in the world will increase from 5 billion to 1 billion, and in a few years to 4 billion cars if all the people in the world will reach today's Norwegian level. ”

It is widely held in Norway that Germany has solved its energy problem with its energy change, where rape replaces wheat to obtain biodiesel, the hills are filled with wind turbines and productive soil is laid under solar panels. But in Germany, consumers now pay 50 percent more for electricity than in 2006. Germany is completely dependent on its mix of coal, lignite, oil and gas. The gas mainly comes from two sources: Norway and Russia.

No one has any answer on how to saturate nine billion orphans without oil, coal and gas.

On the verge of collapse. For Europe as a whole, the picture is rather gloomy. The euro zone is a net importer of large-scale energy, and the dependence on imports only increases – despite the industrial stagnation.
Capitalism has undergone the greatest industrial revolution in the history of mankind, but it has also led us to use up about half of the planet's carbon stocks in just 150 years. In my lifetime, the economy has grown by 4 percent a year. Should it continue this way for 100 years, the economy will have been 50 times larger than today. The raw materials and that energy do not exist. The scarcity is already felt.
Electric cars do not solve any of these problems. No matter how advanced the cars are, no matter how nice batteries you have to make, they only help postpone the necessary and major restructuring needed to avoid collapse.
No one has any answer on how to saturate nine billion mouths without oil, coal and gas. There is no one who can guarantee that it is possible to maintain our type of civilization without carbon energy.
Therefore, the only viable route is to reduce the need for energy at every stage, to make the most of scarce resources. And then it's no good idea to continue subsidizing Tesla and Elon Musk.

Pål Steigan
Steigan has its own blog on steigan.no.
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