Norwegians Debate Government Support for Electric Car Industry
Image credit: ElectricAid.orgNorwegian Politicians Exploring Guarantees for EV ManufacturersThere have been some promising signs that Norwegian electric car manufacturer TH!NK is coming to the US, but times remain tough. Having narrowly escaped bankruptcy, the company is currently operating at limited capacity due to lack of funds. But the Norwegian EV Association (NORSTART) and ElectricAid.org tell us pressure is mounting on the Norwegian government to provide credit guarantees for electric vehicle production. Early signs are good that the politicians are responding. NORSTART and ElectricAid.org visited the annual Environmental Car Exhibition in Oslo to challenge politicians on what measures they were willing to support to keep the fledgling Norwegian EV industry on its feet.
While finance minister Kristin Halvorsen was unwilling to commit to direct government guarantees on camera, she asked EV companies to contact their banks for further credit - noting that the Norwegian government recently provided significant funding to banks so that "good green projects can be funded". Richard from ElectricAid.org hints that such references suggest there will be significant pressure on the banks to make sure TH!NK continues to stay afloat and grow:
Halvorsen can only say so much in her position right now. I´m taking note of the double reference to that "these measures have been put in place so that good green projects can be funded"
Meanwhile former Minister for the Environment Knut Arild Hareide challenged Halvorsen to step up with more concrete financial backing for the domestic EV industry - arguing that there was no reason that a "Gold Card" should be reserved for banks only. Such arguments might sound familiar to those of us on this side of the Atlantic too.
It will be interesting to see what this oil-rich nation does to encourage its emerging clean-tech industries. And it will also be interesting to see what other countries do to keep up.
If your Norwegian is good enough, you can check out the original interviews below.