The shape of things to come?

Earlier this week, I was over in Stavanger on business and after finishing work on Tuesday I had a stroll round the harbour with my camera.  Now, amid all the heavy duty nautical ephemera you expect to find in a bustling port, I was surprised to stumble across this little car that at first glance looked like a cross between Noddy’s Car and Postman Pat’s Van.

It's a tiny wee car

Closer inspection revealed that it was actually a Buddy electric car and was hooked up to a charging station. Now I guess Scandinavians should be pretty well used to plugging their cars in already as in the cold parts they use block heaters on conventional cars in Winter anyway, so maybe the leap to plugging in a car to charge here is not such a big one. According to the Buddy’s entry on wikipedia it has “a range of 20–60 kilometres (12–37 mi) depending on season, topography and driving style. Maximum speed is 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph)” which sounds adequate for a city car.

a neat charging station

With rapidly rising oil prices are electric cars like this going to be the shape of things to come?  For electric vehicles to be a success, there needs to be widely available charging infrastructure in place and we need to carefully consider how we generate the electricity to charge the batteries before heralding these as truly green vehicles, though I suppose in Norway this electricity could potentially already come from hydro-electric power plants.

Next morning I thought I’d spotted the wee Buddy again but on closer inspection it turned out to be a different one, this time a slightly different version – the Buddy Cab – which features a sun roof which probably doesn’t get much use in Norway in the winter!

Buddy Cab - with scooter for scale 🙂

P.S. If you’d like to see any more of the pictures that I took on the walk that inspired this post you can see some on my flickr page.

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