Video: Norway Switches On Largest Multi-Standard Rapid Charging Facility in the World

With global electric car and plug-in hybrid sales at an all-time high, plug-in cars are becoming a regular sight if you happen to live anywhere near a major town or city. If you happen to own an electric car yourself, you’ll notice that increased numbers of plug-in cars on the roads means that you’re more likely to have to queue to use a public charging station too, especially if it’s a rapid charging station along a busy commuter route.

The opening of the 14-strong rapid charging site was well attended by local EV owners.

Unless you’re an owner of a Tesla Model S however, finding more than one rapid charging station at one location is still something of a luxury, but in electric car-loving Norway, a new electrical filling station has opened that not only puts other charging station locations to shame but lays claim to being the world’s largest single installation of universal rapid charging in the world.

Located just off the junction of the E39 and Fv255 in Dannmarksplass, Bergen on a city centre site recently made available by the demolishing of a former school, the massive electric car charging station currently features fourteen fully-functioning rapid charging stations. Later this year, a further ten will be installed to bring the total number of electric car charging stations up to 24 if it is discovered that they are needed.

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Eventually, the site will also be home to a Hydrogen filling station to allow owners of hydrogen fuel cell cars to fill up, but that isn’t going to happen in the near future, says the municipality of Bergen.

With generous incentives, including zero sales tax, the ability to drive in bus lanes and free parking and charging in all of its major cities, Norway has the largest number of electric cars per capita of any country in the world. Last year, electric car sales in Norway passed the fifteen percent market share mark, marking the shift of electric cars from niche-market to mainstream.

To use the site, users will have to register with a smart phone, then pay a modest per-minute usage fee.

To use the site, users will have to register with a smart phone, then pay a modest per-minute usage fee.

But while it’s common to see large parking spaces in large Norwegian cities like Oslo with charging provision for anything from a dozen to more than sixty plug-in cars, the installation in Bergen is by far the largest installation of universal quick charge provision anywhere in the world.

With so many rapid charging stations available, not every stall caters to the needs of every car on the market. Instead, the fourteen rapid charging stations are currently split between each of the major charging connector types available, with four stations dedicated to three-phase 22kilowatt type 2 charging, four stations dedicated to Combo CCCS charging at 50 kilowatts each, and six charging stations dedicated to CHAdeMO charge at 50 kilowatts each.

In total, the fourteen charging stations represent a capacity of nearly 588 kilowatts of electric car rapid charging, and are open 24/7, with each stall arranged in a traditional ‘gas station’ layout to allow drivers to simply drive up, plug in, charge, and drive away.

The site (centre) was one a local school. Now it is home to 14 quick charging stations of various standards.

The site (centre) was one a local school. Now it is home to 14 quick charging stations of various standards.

Unlike most Norwegian public electric car charging stations however, the 14-strong rapid charger site in Bergen won’t be free. Instead, the local municipality has opted to levy a fee for the electricity used. At the time of writing, that fee isn’t clear, although given the 147 other public charging stations in the area — not to mention Norway’s massive electric car population — we’re guessing the fees won’t need be exorbitant in order to make money.

Update: thanks to local Eirik Berntsen, we’ve learned that users will have to register with a specialist Smartphone app in order to use the charging stations, with a flat fee of 10 NOK ($1.32) to initiate charging, plus 2,5 NOK ($0.33) for every minute for each rapid charging station. Meanwhile, the 22 kW charging stations will charge 1 NOK ($0.13) per minute. 

The site was built on a former school site in the centre of Bergen

The site was built on a former school site in the centre of Bergen

With large amounts of her energy produced domestically from renewable energy sources, Norway is one of the cleanest and cheapest places to own an electric car, even if charged from the general energy mix. Despite being a six-hour drive from the capital city of Oslo, we’re guessing these new rapid charging stations in Bergen will encourage more people than ever before to dump the pump for good and plug in instead.

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