Researchers at the Norwegian organization SINTEF are working to eliminate the biggest obstacle to selling electric cars – the fear that batteries will run flat before their car reaches the nearest charging station. This groundbreaking new system includes a simple GPS unit that allows electric car drivers to search out and calculate the distance to the nearest charging station.

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The key to making drivers feel safer lies in providing precise information on the battery status and its range. SINTEF is creating a technology similar to the currently used GPS systems that can look up charging stations in the vicinity and calculate when the car will reach them. Transport researcher at SINTEF, Liv Ǿvstedal says that a small pilot scheme has been planned in the city of Trondheim. A larger demonstration of the technology is planned for next year when 200 electric cars are planned to travel between Oslo and Kongsberg.

According to Ǿvstedal, Norway has the greatest number of electric vehicles per capita in the world but is behind on goods transport. Last year, the Norwegian company BRING tested electric vehicles for express goods and, after receiving encouraging data, the company decided to buy electric vehicles for permanent use. Several other projects involving electric vehicles for express goods transport are currently under development in Europe, including door-to-door package deliveries.