(Photo: Viggo-Bondi) Norway is a global leader in electric vehicle (EV) adoption, with more than half a million EVs now plying its roads. This remarkable journey began in the early 1980s, when a group of environmental activists and the synthpop band A-ha joined forces to demand action on sustainable transport alternatives.
In an unlikely move in 1989, the lead singer of the renowned 1980s band A-ha Morten Harket and Frederic Hauge, the head of the Norwegian environmental group Bellona, embarked on a remarkable road trip. Their vehicle of choice? An electric Fiat Panda, recently imported from Switzerland, symbolizing their commitment to promoting sustainable transportation.
Driving through Oslo, they challenged the city’s exorbitant road tolls, opting to park illegally and ignoring the barrage of penalty notices they received. The authorities eventually impounded their car, auctioning it off to cover the accumulated fines. However, the audacious stunt garnered widespread media attention, effectively conveying their message.
In 1989, two members of the group, Morten Harket and Magne Furuholmen were in Switzerland with environmentalist Frederic Hauge, when they came across a hobby-converted Fiat Panda. Stated range: 45 km. They snapped it up and imported it to Norway.— Robbie Andrew (@robbie_andrew) January 9, 2021
Photo: In Switzerland (Bellona) pic.twitter.com/Fqu0HibJ8s
As a direct result of their activism, electric vehicles were subsequently granted exemptions from road tolls, just one among a plethora of incentives that have contributed to Norway earning the distinction of boasting the world’s highest per capita electric vehicle ownership. Further incentives included privileges like allowing EVs to use bus lanes, free parking, ferry travel, and zero tax.
Today, Norway is leading the way in the global transition to a sustainable transportation system. The country’s success is a testament to the power of sustainability and unexpected partnerships. A-ha’s collaboration with environmental activists showed that pop culture can be a powerful force for good.
Below is a video relating the whole story.
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