(Bergensavisen): Leif Arne Vangsnes bought himself a new electric Volvo to meet the new requirements.
But the car does not arrive on time. He asked the Vestland District Council if he could drive his old diesel car until the new Smile arrived, but he expressed his displeasure.
Now he has to buy himself another electric car. A smaller Volvo for NOK 650,000 so you can work as a taxi driver.
Vangsnes lives less than ten kilometers from the former county of Sogn og Fjordane. If he lives outside the “borders” and has a taxi license there, he can drive his 2018 Volvo for another two years.
I got rejected
When it became known that all taxis in Hordaland would switch to electric operation from April 1 of this year, Leif Arne Vangsness decided to order a new Volvo.
Since he drives on all types of roads and sometimes carries passengers with large luggage, he decided to buy a large, spacious car with four-wheel drive.
He promised to deliver the car in the first quarter of 2024, but the latest reports show that he will be lucky if he gets the car before the end of 2024.
Vangsnes therefore decided to apply to Vestland County to be allowed to keep his Volvo diesel car after April 1, as there were problems delivering the new electric car on the deadline.
– After a few months I received an answer. They asked me to document the application better, and at the same time I understood from them that I would never get a deferral, says Vangsness with relief.
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Working as a taxi driver without a car is of course not possible. He will have the newly purchased electric car until he gets the other new car at the end of the year.
Is this the high price you should pay for a car you will only own for a few months?
– Yes, it cost me dearly. I will still replace it when the new car arrives. The alternative would have been to order a completely different brand of car, and that's not me, he says and smiles.
Vangsness has been a Volvo guy his whole life, and the transition to another car brand isn't over yet.
-You will lose a lot of money buying a car that you will not own for a long time. What do you think that?
-You always lose money when you buy a new car, he answers briefly.
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The leader of the Norwegian Taxi Association, Hordaland branch, Sven Harald Solberg, is frustrated with politicians. He shakes his head at the situation Vangsness is in.
– Yes, it's very terrible! I can't understand that Vangsnes is not allowed to drive his diesel car until the new one is ready. Solberg believes this has no cost for politicians, but for people struggling to make ends meet, such additional costs have serious consequences.
He calls it crazy, but adds that he has nothing bad to say about electric cars.
– Electric cars like taxis do not have a fully developed solution yet. I think politicians should intervene and settle things. Solberg believes that making such radical decisions regarding such an important industry could have serious consequences for many people.
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– What consequences are we talking about, you mean?
– First, taxi drivers' income will decrease. They will spend a lot of time at charging stations, especially in the winter. At the same time, they have to stand up and see that they are losing out on taxi trips because they are either standing in line to charge, or they do not have enough electricity for a long trip. Secondly, I can imagine that taxi service may become much worse in the future. I have spoken to many drivers who have announced that they will stop driving, because they do not see a future in the electric taxi industry. In this case, it would mean less access for taxis in the areas, Solberg believes.
New regulations allow taxis with more than six seats to continue to operate with petrol or diesel engines. Everything with five seats will go electric.
– He sees the challenges
Arvi Healy (AFP) is Chairman of the Transport and Mobility Committee of Vestland County. He told British Airways that they have already held several meetings with the taxi association and county politicians, to look at different solutions that could make starting a taxi industry easier.
-I drive an electric car myself and see the challenges that taxi owners face. These are the challenges that need to be solved, says Healy.
He cannot yet say what measures he wants.
– I do not want to advance anything, but there is a political will to look into this matter, and we will follow it, Haley promised.
He is still unsure whether postponing electric taxi requirements from April 1 until the end of 2024 is an option.
– In all cases, you must ensure that there is sufficient charging capacity for all taxis. He stresses that it is not good enough as it stands today, and it is a challenge.
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– Taxi drivers in the former Sogne og Fjordane can continue to drive diesel or petrol cars until 2026. Why is this?
– This was something the politicians in Old Hordaland decided before we merged as a single province, so the taxi industry in Sogn had to be given some time to get electric cars.
– Vangsnes has to pay NOK 650,000 to buy a temporary electric taxi. What do you think that?
The administration was and remains clear that no exemptions will be granted for postponement, says Healy.
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