- Oslo, Norway is poised to become the first city in the world to use wireless fast-charging infrastructure for its taxi fleet, in part of an effort to deploy only electric taxis by the year 2023.
- Charging plates, which use induction technology to deliver a charge of up to 75 kilowatts, will be installed under taxi parking spaces. The installation is being done in partnership with Finnish clean energy company Fortum and America’s Momentum Dynamics.
- The chargers will be at taxi stands, including at Oslo Central Station, where cars would normally be idling for passengers. "The difference is they won’t be emitting exhaust while waiting, instead they will be receiving renewable energy to charge the taxi's battery," Fortum Charge & Drive head Annika Hoffner said in a statement.
Electric taxis are seen as key to a widespread zero-emission transportation future, but charging has remained a major barrier. Because cab drivers have unpredictable schedules, it can be difficult to keep a consistent charge. Depending on where the chargers are located, drivers may also have to go out of their way and wait, meaning lost fares. That has plagued Washington, DC’s attempts to deploy more electric taxis, prompting utility Pepco to commit to more infrastructure installation.
The wireless chargers can help solve that problem by allowing drivers to juice up while they are waiting for passengers at busy pickup points. The induction plates will start automatically when a taxi drives over them, and fast charging technology will keep the cars on the road longer.
The widespread deployment can offer a model to other cities that have eyed electric taxi fleets. Cities including Columbus, OH and New York City have purchased electric vehicles (EVs) to integrate into existing taxi fleets; Shenzhen, China boasted earlier this year that it had converted 95% of its fleet to electric taxis. It also comes as cities have experimented with other innovative charging possibilities, like converting light poles into chargers or an autonomous robot that can charge cars in parking lots.
Norway has been a worldwide leader in electric transportation, with the world’s highest rate of electric car ownership (boosted in part by incentives like free or discounted tolls and parking). According to Reuters, Norway drivers bought 46,143 new battery electric cars in 2018, and the country has a goal of making all new cars electric by 2025.