On a recent trip to Norway I found myself needing to rent a car – and, for the first time, most of the cars available were electric. As someone who doesn’t own an EV, and doesn’t live in Norway, I wondered if it would be a pain – if you have the same questions, here’s what I found.
I rented from Hertz at Oslo Gardermoen airport. I paid for quite a small car, but (thanks to the usual vagaries of car hire) received a fairly large Audi Q4. The car was at 100%, and I was told to return it above a certain level – I think 75% – to avoid any further charges. I was also given, via SMS link, a charging app called Elton – if I charged with that, the cost would be added to my Hertz bill.
I drove the car for a few hours, arrived at my rental, and hit the first snag. Charging the Audi should have been as easy as plugging it into a domestic socket – but no joy. Thanks to what appears to be a common problem (something to do with the system not being satisfied with the ground connection?), it refused to work. Fiddling with override routines did nothing to help – I would need a public charger.
The Elton app showed two charging spots available at a nearby town – maybe 15 minutes drive away. But that seemed a bit far, so I had a dig around on Google and found this map at ladestasjoner.no, which shows chargers on multiple networks – including 8 fast charge sockets just a minute away from my location. It also has a little information on each location – in this case pointing me towards the “Mer Connect Norway” app. Registering on the app took a few minutes – signup is usually via phone number with SMS confirmation rather than username / password – and I could register my UK Mastercard Debit to pay.
With that done, everything was easy – drive up, plug in, start the charge from the app, and wait. My card was billed on completion, the car was good to go.
So: in my experience, it’s all very doable – just be sure to check out the charging points near your destination, and which network (and thus which app) you’ll need. You might need to sign up for more than one app, and create more than one account – but chargers are plentiful, and as long as you have something to read while you wait, it’s all pretty painless.
Oh! And also: if you’re planning a visit to Oslo or its surrounding area, you might not need a car at all? The airport has good train links, and I was amazed by the quality of the bus network reaching out into the suburbs and beyond. Check out the Ruter app, which serves as both map and ticketing system.