Boom of Electric Cars in Norway Causes Problem

Oslo- The Norwegian capital is suffering from a problem, which may be raising discontent and dissatisfaction in other environmentally-aware cities. The problem is that Oslo’s residents are buying a lot of electric cars, so that the local government can hardly cope with them.

In fact, the Association of Electric Vehicles is seeking to discourage drivers from buying electric cars, if they do not have the capacities of charging them at home.

Peter Hogniland, a spokesman for the Electric Vehicles Association, said the local authorities did not deploy a sufficient number of charging stations to keep up with the number of the sold electric cars.

He added that the rate of newly registered electric and hybrid vehicles reached 35 percent, noting that one in three cars sold in Norway is electric. This rate hits 40 percent in Oslo. The Greater Oslo Region has witnessed the registration of over 50,000 electric cars, and 30,000 hybrid car, according to an official from the capital’s Urban Environment Agency.

Meanwhile, there are only 1,300 domestic charging stations for electric vehicles. The official said: “we are doing our best. Every year, charging stations grow to more than 26 percent, however, the number of electric vehicles has increased by more than 100 percent, and the gap is getting wider.

The Norwegian news agency explained that the main reason behind the boom of electric cars is the financial privileges provided by the government, including the suspension of the value added tax (VAT) and customs fees on the exported cars and engines. This means that the electric version of many cars is cheaper than the traditional ones with internal combustion engine (ICE).

Hogniland says: “In Norway, you pay over 250,000 Norwegian krone ($31,475) for an electric Golf car, and over 300,000 krone for a gasoline-powered Golf, and here is the difference.”

All these privileges aim at fulfilling the ambitious commitment that by 2025, all newly registered vehicles in Norway must be zero-emission vehicles.

This goal can be achieved by using the “carrot and stick” approach: the carrot takes the form of tax exemptions for those who drive electric vehicles, while the stick is the taxes and high gasoline prices for those who stick to fossil fuels.

‘Saudi Arabia Among Our Biggest Markets,’ Says Bentley Official

London- Bentley motors company has shown a remarkable interest in the Gulf region because it includes three of its ten biggest global markets, mainly Saudi Arabia. Bentley recently opened in Dubai its largest showroom in the world. The company sells over 11.2 percent of its production in the Middle East, mostly in the Gulf region.

Robin Peel, Bentley’s head of marketing and communications-international, expected luxurious sport utility vehicle, Bentayga, to maintain it 2016 performance and to keep leading the company’s sales in 2017.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, he said the Saudi Vision 2030 could potentially lead to a restructuring of regional priorities and to pave way for the emergence of a new economic model in the region.

He believed this shift would increase investments in the auto industry, especially in the sector of luxury cars, which will improve the sales of luxury brands like Bentley.

Here is the text of the interview:

*What is the importance of the Saudi market concerning Bentley’s sales and the most selling models?

-While the UAE currently leads the world in terms of sales, it forms along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar the three biggest markets in the world for Bentley. In terms of bestselling models, Bentley has almost 100 years of experience in introducing high-performance luxury automobiles that made their mark over the years. Last year, the Bentayga, the world’s fastest and most luxurious SUV, was the most selling in the region. We expect it to continue its outstanding performance as the highly desirable luxury purchase in 2017.

* Compared with the company’s global activity, how was the performance of regional markets?

– Bentley Motors delivered 11,023 cars globally in 2016, a record high up to 9 percent compared to 2015 sales. It was also the company’s fourth consecutive year during which the sales increased above 10,000 cars. Bentley delivered 1,239 cars to the Middle East in 2016, making 11.2 percent of its global production. Saudi Arabia acquired an important share of the region’s exports.

* How do you assess the possible impact of Saudi Vision 2030 on activities in the regional markets?

– As the top oil exporter of the Middle East, and the second in the world, Saudi Arabia, through the implementation of its Vision 2030, could potentially lead a recalibration of regional priorities and inspire the emergence of a new economic model in the region. By opening up on foreign investors, the diversification in the Kingdom’s economy could affect all the region’s economies. This will also motivate investments in the automotive industry, particularly in the luxury sector, encouraging greater sales in luxury brands such as Bentley Motors.

* Do you have programs to train local GCC talent at your facilities?

– Bentley’s headquarters in Crewe is home to all of its operations including design, research and development (R&D), engineering and production of all the company’s cars. It is also responsible for youths training. The company recently launched its 2017 trainee recruitment in the UK, with 60 positions available for apprentices, undergraduates and graduates, in all fields.

* How do you assess the economic situation and consumer confidence in the region in view of the volatile oil prices?

– Bentley Motors is going from strength to strength in the Middle East in 2016 opening its largest showroom in the world, a 75,000-sq. ft. retail development on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. However, we do not consider ourselves immune to the challenging conditions in the automotive sector. We have consistently worked hard to build a sustainable platform to enable long-term growth and to ensure that our customers receive the high-standard service they expect. Along with the Bentayga, we look forward to introducing future models that combine luxury and performance.

* How is Bentayga doing in the region and what is the feedback you are receiving from customers?

– Bentayga has broadened Bentley’s appeal beyond our traditional base of customers, redefining the SUV segment. It offers customers the chance to drive it in different scenarios and styles.

* How is Bentley proceeding with the future of electric and plug-in hybrid models?

– Bently is committed to taking a responsible approach to the sustainability of our production and products. We have been working to adopt new eco-friendly technologies in our cars. For example, in 2014 we launched a hybrid concept based on our flagship model, the Mulsanne, showing that hybrid technology can be applied even in cars with high luxury and performance. This was an extraordinary development in technology and I congratulate our talented group of engineers for achieving it. The first Bentley Hybrid will be launched in the first half of next year. At the recent Geneva Motor Show, Bentley unveiled a concept EXP 12 Speed 6e, which is being tested around the world to assess the feedback from potential customers.

Demand on Electric Cars Declines in Germany

Germany- Media reports in Germany have revealed that demand of individuals and companies on electric cars has kept declining, despite all the privileges given to motivate people on purchasing eco-friendly vehicles.

According to a local economic newspaper specialized in automotive news, out of a total €1.2 billion allocated to reward people buying electric cars, only €55 million have been spent.

The newspaper noted that requests submitted to the federal bureau of economy and censure on imports in Eschborn city to buy electric cars exceeded 15,000 by the end of March.

Of note, the reward concept has kicked off in July 2016, with a retroactive effect including people who bought electric cars starting May 18.

The offered rewards are as follows: €4,000 for electric cars, €3,000 for hybrid cars; the German government contributes in paying 50 percent of this reward, while the manufacturing company pays the other 50 percent by offering the client a discount when purchasing the car.

Technically, the value allocated for this reward, covers the purchase of over 300,000 cars. This concept will be suspended by the end of June 2019.