It is not every day that you get the opportunity to talk with high profile politicians and to challenge them on policy. We got the opportunity this Saturday. Click on to see how it went
Together with Rune Haaland of the Norwegian EV Association (Norstart) we went down to the annual Environmental Car Exhibition in Oslo to see if a proposal to help the EV industry could bear fruit with the politicians present.
The proposal, together with the politicians' reaction, followed by a challenge from the previous Minister of the Environment, Rune Hareide, can be read bellow below:
Norway has the best incentives in the world for promoting the sale and use of EVs, but lacks mechanisms that can help the production of the vehicles, acting Secretary General of Norstart Rune Haaland tells us. Today, Norway has two manufacturers of EVs, Buddy & Think, and a third one is in the process of establishing production in the district of Grenland. The Indian company Tata Motors is investing in both a battery and car plant. Both Buddy & Think are feeling the effect of the financial crisis. Investors are fewer, and the assembly lines are operating at a limited capacity because Think lacks the funds to start full-scale production. At the same time, there is great interest around the world to get Think to establish production in other countries. Over 2000 people are currently waiting for their ordered car. But only 80 of them will get one, unless Think receives governmental guarantees so that they are able to order the components that are required to produce the Think City cars on a large enough scale.
- NORSTART is now asking for governmental credit guarantees for electric vehicle production by companies that want to manufacture EVs in Norway, and believes that a guarantee program directed towards ordering parts for the assembling of the cars can get the production plant rolling at full speed again. Governmental guarantees will most likely set off a chain reaction in the form of further investments from the current investors in Think and the other EV makers, says Rune Haaland from Norstart.
The former Minister of the Environment, Knut Arild Hariede, agrees and is challenging the Minister of Finance, Kristin Halvorsen, to make available production credit guarantees to the EV industry. Halvorsen is favorable towards EVs and is asking the companies to contact their banks. The banks have recently received governmental funds to be able to function normally. Inga Marte Thorkildsen in SV is supportive of looking at the opportunity of production credit guarantees as a measure to get the EV industry on its feet again and will get in contact with Think this week to get more information about the situation.
At a forum organized by the buisiess school BI, Minister of Finance, Kristian Halvorsen tell reporters that:
"We gather lessons from the financial crisis now and look for instruments that are good in relation to emergency preparedness in our future. A state business bank should be part of the debate, "
She then says that this has not been discussed in the Government yet and it could take some time to get such a organization up and running. Still, I would say this tells us something about the mood among politicians to act.