Renting electric cars to the public: Revolutionary mobility project in Halden

By Silja Mork, Schneider Electric

Electric auto charging – from left, Martin Vik of Halden municipality, with Kjetil Ulving-Tufte, Kjetil Hulbach and Per Gjerløw of Schneider Electric
Electric auto charging – from left, Martin Vik of Halden municipality, with Kjetil Ulving-Tufte, Kjetil Hulbach and Per Gjerløw of Schneider Electric (photo: Schneider Electric)

In Norway, the municipality of Halden and Smart City Halden have recently launched a revolutionary transportation project that aims to reduce Halden’s COemissions, while equalising social inequalities. In total, 20 electric cars have been made available to municipality employees as well as to Halden’s general population.

During work hours, from 08:00 to 16:00, the city rents the electric cars to municipality employees for work-related trips. In addition, employees, city inhabitants and tourists can rent the electric cars during evenings and weekends. As part of the project, a rental scheme for electric bicycles for employees has also been created.

Good times at city hall – from left, State Secretary Paul Chaffey, Martin Vik of Halden municipality and Halden Mayor, Thor Edquist
Good times at city hall – from left, State Secretary Paul Chaffey, Martin Vik of Halden municipality and Halden Mayor, Thor Edquist (photo: Schneider Electric)

Martin Vik, manager for communication and digitalisation in Halden municipality, leads the mobility project. Vik describes the project’s goals: “We want to make the city attractive for Halden’s residents. To accomplish this, we will facilitate climate-friendly measures that fulfil residents’ transportation needs, while also limiting the total number of cars in the city centre. We want to motivate and engage both the municipality staff and inhabitants to use more environmentally friendly transportation solutions. The project will also make it possible for those with limited resources to have access to cars.”

To implement the transportation project, the municipality received NOK 2.375 million in funding from Klimasats, the Norwegian government’s climate initiative to support municipalities’ projects that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to the transition to the low-emission society. Limiting the use of private cars during work hours reduces COemissions. In addition, this also reduces the municipalities’ costs linked to travelling expenses allowance and assists inhabitants who don’t have access to – or who can’t afford – a car.

The transportation project was officially kicked off on January 24th by Paul Chaffey, State Secretary for the newly named Norwegian Minister of Digitalisation, Nikolai Astrup. After his speech at city hall, Chaffey took one of the new electric autos for a test drive around the city centre with Halden Mayor, Thor Edquist.

“Halden is one of the municipalities that’s showing the way in the green shift,” said Chaffey from the podium.

Innovation partnership with an international research project
Smart Innovation Norway is a leader in the cross-border Horizon 2020 project INVADE, in which entirely new systems are employed to change the way energy is used, stored and produced. The 3-year EU project includes the development of alternative methods for charging electric autos. These charging solutions are tested and further developed as part of Halden’s transportation project.

At the parking places for the municipality’s electric autos stand newly installed smart EVlink charging stations from Schneider Electric. One of the partners in INVADE, Schneider Electric provides the technical expertise and coordinates the pilot project.

Per Gjerløw, Schneider Electric’s Director for Business Development and coordinator for the EU project, elaborates, “The electric auto project in Halden municipality is a part of what we call an ‘exploitation pilot’. That’s to say that we make use of solutions that have been developed through the EU project INVADE in Halden. The solutions are connected to the autos’ booking system and INVADES’ cloud-based platform. Via this smart solution, the autos are charged when needed, at the lowest cost – and with a minimal COfootprint.”

EVlink Energy Management – Charging infrastructure energy management and supervision solutions
EVlink Energy Management – Charging infrastructure energy management and supervision solutions (illustration: Schneider Electric)

Kjetil Ulving-Tufte, Vice President Strategy & Business Development at Schneider Electric, comments, “The transportation project in Halden is a good example of what the EU wants to accomplish with the Horizon 2020 project – practical application of new technology that advances development of sustainable, energy-effective solutions!”

Visit www.schneider-electric.com to find out more about EVlink.