National charging strategy

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5 Enova, Public Roads Administration and Nye Veier

Illustration photo. Man charging a truck.

Image: Christian Tunge

5.1 Enova

Enova is the national instrument for support to late-phase technology development and early market introduction of climate and energy solutions. Enova utilises the funds in the Climate and Energy Fund, and support from the fund is intended to relieve the risk and cost for those who are the first to test new solutions. Enova’s support programs have hastened lasting market changes and helped private operators to manage without support or assistance in the early phase. Enova has extensive professional freedom to prioritise between areas, to design programs and grant support to individual projects, so that the funds from the Climate and Energy Fund are utilised as effectively as possible.

The government’s intention is that development of charging infrastructure shall in principle be market-driven and that any subsidies shall be phased out as early as possible. Market-driven development means that the demand for charging shall lay the foundations for professional operators to develop and operate charging infrastructure on a commercial basis, in the same manner as conventional fuel stations. For sufficient infrastructure to be developed in the appropriate locations it is critical that it is developed and operated by the operators in the market.

Enova follows the developments in the charging market and adapts its programs so that they support a commercial charging market and contribute to the establishment of the necessary infrastructure.

Light vehicles

Enova had its first support programmes aimed at charging infrastructure in the light EV market in 2015 and 2016. The support programs involved rapid chargers along the main highways in Norway and resulted in 131 rapid charging stations. Subsequently, over several rounds, Enova has supported both rapid charging stations in municipalities with fewer than two previous stations, and they have had competition-based support schemes for broad development of rapid chargers in selected areas where the use of EVs was not yet common. The latter scheme has resulted in several installations in Finnmark, North Troms, Nordland and Namdalen. In the state budget for 2022, the government strengthened Enova with NOK 100 million, so that Enova could contribute to the deployment of rapid chargers in areas without an adequate basis for commercial development. These efforts were intended to make it simpler to choose climate-friendly transport solutions throughout the country. In 2022, Enova announced a competition with three categories, in which charging operators could receive support for up to 100 percent of approved investment costs. The first category was deployment of a new rapid charging station a minimum of 25 km from other, publicly accessible rapid chargers. For deployment in municipalities where there were no previously deployed or planned rapid chargers, the distance requirement was 15 km. The second category was the deployment of normal chargers in areas without a permanent road connection, and the third category was the deployment of normal chargers on mountain passes. In June 2022 Enova awarded support to 58 rapid chargers, 11 normal chargers in areas without a permanent road connection and one normal charger on a mountain pass. When these charging stations are deployed, rapid chargers will be accessible over the entire country, also in areas with low population density and little traffic, ref. Figure 5.1.

Illustration. Map of norway. Rapid chargers in operation as of November 2022 (blue) and rapid chargers supported by Enova June 2022 which will be in operation at the latest June 2023 (yellow)

Figur 5.1 Rapid chargers in operation as of November 2022 (blue) and rapid chargers supported by Enova June 2022 which will be in operation at the latest June 2023 (yellow).

Source: Enova

It is expected that further deployment of rapid chargers for light vehicles will take place on a commercial basis.

Heavy vehicles

Although sales of heavy EVs increased considerably during 2022, there are still relatively few heavy EVs on Norwegian roads, and many of these have a limited range. There is still a significant additional cost involved in investing in heavy EVs compared to the fossil fuel alternative and there can be disadvantages in use. To support development within this market, Enova supports electric lorries and coaches with up to 40 percent of the additional costs associated with choosing an EV instead of a corresponding fossil fuel vehicle. As of November 2022, Enova has supported 420 electric lorries and 115 electric coaches. The application process is simple, with a rapid response. This contributes to steadily more companies choosing electric heavy vehicles, ref. Figure 2.2. It is expected that the additional costs will fall, and usage areas will increase relatively quickly, as heavy vehicle manufacturers increase their production volumes.

At present, it is primarily the sector of heavy transport that drives relatively short distances that has been electrified. Long-distance transport will often be dependent on being able to charge vehicles along the way. Here we meet the ‘chicken-or-egg’ issue, where few available chargers hinder zero-emission vehicles from being used, and few vehicles make it unattractive to develop charging infrastructure. A more accessible charging infrastructure will make it more attractive to choose zero-emission vehicles, which in turn will make it more profitable to provide charging facilities. To make headway in emissions reductions within heavy transport there is therefore a need for public support for charging infrastructure for these types of vehicles in the early phase. As the main principle, the charging infrastructure shall be developed on commercial terms; however, in an early phase where there is a need for support for this type of development, Enova will be the state instrument.

As part of the offering aimed at zero-emission land transport, Enova is launching the support scheme Dedicated charging for heavy vehicles. The purpose of the scheme will be to increase the pace of deployment of dedicated charging points, i.e. chargers that primarily will be used by one or several pre-identified companies. The support programme is arranged as a competition in which projects applying will be ranked according to cost efficiency, measured in support NOK per kW. Maximum support is 40 percent of approved additional costs, limited upwards to NOK 5 million. Several application rounds are planned during the year and relevant applicants may be transport companies, charging operators, goods terminal owners or similar.

5.2 Charging along the national highway network – the roles of the Public Roads Administration and Nye Veier

The charging infrastructure for heavy vehicles is dependent on large land areas and good capacity in the electricity grid. For traffic safety reasons, charging sites for heavy vehicles should be separate from charging sites for light vehicles. Requirements for punctuality and performance times, combined with wage costs for drivers mean that charging should be possible during the driver’s mandatory rest period. Drivers should also be able to buy food and have access to other services. Overnight rest areas therefore emerge as natural charging points for heavy vehicles. For charging of heavy vehicles, planning and construction of roads and charging infrastructure should therefore be seen in context.

If owners of heavy vehicles are to be offered a good charging service, there should be competition between service providers along the national highway network. Competition must be considered when sites are leased out and when terms and conditions for deployment are set.

Public Roads Administration

The Public Roads Administration’s work on rest stops and overnight rest areas along the national highway network is presented in a strategy drafted on assignment from the Ministry of Transport in 2020 and concerns the entire national road network. The strategy states that the deployment of charging stations must be considered during significant upgrades and planning of new rest stops and overnight rest areas. Special arrangements can include obtaining appropriate and adequate sites, considering possibilities for providing adequate electricity, laying conduits and safeguarding other practical considerations. Deployment and operation of the charging station itself will principally be allocated to charging operators based on non-discriminatory competition terms. The need for special arrangements for charging shall be evaluated against existing charging facilities on the particular highway for various vehicle groups and the cost of implementation.

Nye Veier AS

In 2020, Nye Veier AS initiated a pilot project “EL 39” that evaluated where and how it is most appropriate to deploy zero-emission infrastructure along roads. Via the pilot project, Nye Veier has mapped and evaluated which steps can be taken in connection with, among other things, planning processes, technical adaptations and competitions for the operation of overnight rest areas. The objective is to ensure that it is attractive for charging operators to develop good facilities for road users along highways. The results from the pilot project have led to Nye Veier, in the last few years, stipulating minimum requirements for the number of chargers in competitions for the operation of overnight rest areas and road service stations. The company also carries out fundamental technical preliminary work for future charging infrastructure in other areas, for example parking areas for commuters. This will make it simpler to deploy further chargers in the future if the need should arise.

Improved knowledge of charging needs and deployment possibilities

The Knowledge Base from the Public Roads Administration and Norwegian Environment Agency highlights among other things that the lack of information concerning future charging needs, site availability and grid capacity can delay the development of satisfactory charging services. To obtain a better overview of deployment possibilities and the need for charging along the national highway network, the Ministry of Transport has commissioned the Public Roads Administration to draft a complete overview, showing where there is likely to be a need for rapid charging of heavy vehicles in 2025 and 2030, areas along the national highway network controlled by the Public Roads Administration/Nye Veier (e.g. existing rest stops/overnight rest areas) where charging infrastructure can be deployed either for light or heavy vehicles, and where the Public Roads Administration and Nye Veier are planning new – or upgrades to existing – rest stops/overnight rest areas and access to land areas for deployment of charging infrastructure at these places. The Public Roads Administration was also asked to appraise whether the overview of sites along the national highway network that are suitable for charging infrastructure can be supplemented with an overview of grid capacity and involve NVE in this process. The overview will give market operators knowledge of the possibilities found along the national highway network.

The EU Commission’s proposal for a revision of the AFI Directive contains a minimum requirement for distances between charging stations on the TEN-T core network and the TEN-T road network towards 2030, ref. Box 2.1. In Norway this applies to the highways E6, E18, E39 and E16. The regulation will affect where charging stations should be deployed.

5.3 Development of charging facilities for heavy vehicles

There are a few fundamental differences in the charging of light and heavy vehicles. Whilst charging stations for light vehicles occupy limited space and there are many appropriate charging sites, the charging infrastructure for heavy vehicles requires large, clear areas. Rapid charging of heavy vehicles also requires a significantly higher output during charging than for light vehicles. Available capacity in the grid is limited in many areas and the development of charging infrastructure for heavy vehicles requires a greater degree of planning regarding the reservation of grid capacity. Heavy vehicles also tend to have more planned and rigid driving patterns than passenger vehicles. The disadvantages of having to take an alternative route to arrive at a charging station or waiting in a charging queue are fewer for personal transport than for commercial transport. The location of charging stations for heavy transport should therefore be seen in context with driving patterns and charging requirements.

In summary, this means that the public road authorities should play a larger role in the planning and coordination of charging infrastructure for heavy vehicles than for light vehicles.

The Public Roads Administration, Nye Veier and Enova should cooperate on the localisation and financing of a necessary number of charging stations along the national highway network or in other areas managed by the Public Roads Administration and Nye Veier. Over time, the development of charging services for heavy vehicles should be based on market-related terms, without public subsidy.

The government will:

  • Request that the Public Roads Administration continues its work on charting the needs and opportunities for deployment of charging infrastructure along the national road network, for both light and heavy vehicles.
  • Request that the Public Roads Administration reduce barriers to the development of a charging infrastructure both for heavy and light vehicles by communicating a clear leasing strategy and terms upon deployment in the agency’s areas, including overnight rest areas and rest stops.
  • Use Enova as the state instrument for supporting the development of charging infrastructure for heavy vehicles in an initial phase, where there is a need for public subsidy and where development will not take place on commercial terms.
  • Appoint the Public Roads Administration, in dialogue with Nye Veier and Enova the task of preparing a plan for charging stations for heavy vehicles along the national road network, showing where and when there is a need to set these up. The plan shall be completed before 1 July 2023 and updated at regular intervals, in line with developments in the market.
  • Request that the Public Roads Administration, Nye Veier AS and Enova collaborate on the deployment of the first publicly accessible charging stations for heavy vehicles at overnight rest areas and general rest stops, and if appropriate, at other sites along the national road network.
  • Ensure that deployment and operation of charging stations for heavy vehicles, as rapidly as possible, will be able to take place on commercial terms without public subsidy.

Through the initiatives stated above, the government will fulfil the Hurdal Platform’s statement, to give the Public Roads Administration a role in planning a coordinated charging infrastructure network and identify sections of highways that require state assistance to develop a charging network.