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Range anxiety: Are long trips across Norway possible with an electric car?

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
Range anxiety: Are long trips across Norway possible with an electric car?
Taking into account issues with range in the winter, is going on long trips with an electric car in Norway feasible? Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

While Norwegians are, generally speaking, a country of electric vehicle lovers, certain aspects of driving an EV annoy them quite a bit. The most notable one? Winter range.


Norway prides itself in having the most electric cars per capita in the world. However, even the electric car's biggest fans are disappointed with some features of modern EVs.

One of the key issues? Winter range, according to the most recent survey carried out by Norstat for the Norwegian Automobile Association (NAF).

As many as 45 percent of electric car owners in Norway are disappointed with their car's range in winter.

Furthermore, 22 percent of respondents in the survey stated that the winter range is the reason they will not buy an electric car.

In the 2022 annual winter test of electric cars organis ed by the NAF, none of the dozens of the electric cars tested achieved the range the manufacturer promised.


Winter range issues

Electric cars run between four and 32 percent shorter in winter than in summer, according to previous surveys carried out by the NAF and the magazine Motor.

"Last year alone, there were almost 140,000 new electric cars on the roads. Many new electric car drivers get surprised during the winter," senior communications advisor Nils Sødal at the NAF said in a press release published on Tuesday.

"For many people, range is the first thing they look at when choosing an electric car. And in winter, you risk losing a lot of that capacity. This creates uncertainty among people," Sødal explained.

Despite this issue, due to multiple factors that we will discuss in this article, Norway is still a great country to take a long trip in an electric car.

Long trips remain a viable option due to the country's charger network

The fact that you have to keep in mind – and plan for – the winter range limitations does not make it substantially more challenging to go on long trips in the country.

Norway has a well-developed charging infrastructure system, with almost 17,000 charging stations (the number continues to increase yearly), including 3,300 rapid chargers, set up all over the country.

The sheer number of chargers means that you can travel long distances in an electric car with relative ease, as you will always be within a charging station if you need it.

Furthermore, modern electric vehicles have increased range (ca. from 200-400 kilometres), meaning that they can drive for several hundred kilometres before you need to charge.

As the Norwegian EV association points out, people can get around easily in an electric vehicle even in the northernmost parts of the country, an area characterised by huge distances and really low temperatures in the winter.


Where to find chargers

As a country that has been actively promoting electric mobility, Norway has invested heavily in installing charging stations across its regions.

As part of its strategy, it put additional emphasis on setting up fast charger points along the country's major highways – making it convenient to charge your car on long trips, as fast chargers can recharge the battery of an electric car to 80 percent in around 35-45 minutes, which should be enough for most long-distance trips.

While you're on the road, look out for charging points from providers such as Fortum Charge & Drive (list of charging locations available here) or Mer Connect (you can find more information on Mer here), which operate broad networks of charging stations across Norway.

You can usually also find car chargers at Norwegian shopping centres, hotels and restaurants, and service stations.

As the state-funded guide Visit Norway points out, the easiest way to find a charging point is often by checking one of the country's (and region's) most extensive e-charger maps, here.

A quick tip: Remember to download the necessary apps and register with the major charging providers in advance so that you always have access to charging stations.


Final verdict

So, is going on long trips with an electric car in Norway feasible?

The short and unsurprising answer is "yes."

Due to its well-developed network of chargers and related infrastructure, as well as numerous fast chargers along highways, Norway is a great country for long trips in an electric car.

Just remember to always plan in advance and familiarize yourself with charging options on the route you plan to take.


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