With around 355,000 inhabitants and 252,000 vehicles, Iceland has one of the highest vehicles per capita in the world. The harsh climate and scarcity of public transport makes vehicle ownership a must. The great environmental commitment of Icelanders has led to a significant acceleration in demand for electric vehicles and charging stations over the past two years.
For charging infrastructure dealer, installer and consultant Hlada, this has resulted in the sale of some 500 GARO charging stations in just under two years, with demand continuing to increase.
“Icelanders have taken to the electric car in a very enthusiastic manner, even if it does require new routines to constantly keep the vehicles charged. People have chosen to focus on the benefits, highlighting the environmental gains, reduced operating costs and fewer visits to the workshop,” says Hlada CEO Ólafur Gu∂mundsson.
Demand is primarily for plug-in hybrids, although even fully electric vehicles are an increasingly common sight. The island’s short distances make the electric car a perfect environmentally friendly alternative with very low operating costs. Given the harsh climate that prevails for most of the year, it is also a major advantage to have a vehicle that can be warm and comfortable immediately whenever it is required.
The tough climate places high demands on charging stations. To survive here, the casing, technology and electronics must be able to withstand highly changeable weather, with extreme cold, heavy rain and hard winds. Summer temperatures can rise to as high as 30°C, while in winter the temperature can sink as low as − 38°C with winds up to 65 m/s.
Electric vehicles are purchased by private individuals, businesses and the public sector. Collaboration with vehicle importers make it possible to purchase a charger at the same time as a car. GARO wall boxes currently have 99% of the Icelandic market for home charging stations that can be connected with up to four or five units. Even when it comes to public charging stations and powerful fast chargers, GARO enjoys considerable confidence among customers.
“Iceland is perfect for electric cars: cold climate, cheap electricity and short distances.”
Many large Icelandic companies and public attractions have invested in GARO charging solutions for their staff and visitors, including:
IKEA in Reykjavik offers free charging at 20 LS4 charging stations powered by GARO solar panels.
The Nordural aluminium smelting plant has 17 double LS4 charging stations for its employees, with more planned.
Energy company ON has 22 LS4s and 8 QC45 fast chargers equipped with a payment function.
Energy company OV has 6 LS4s for its employees’ private and company vehicles located in areas exposed to particularly harsh climates, including one at 520 metres above mean sea level.
Iceland’s national power company Landsvirkjun has installed 6 LS4s for employees to charge their private and company vehicles, including at:
- Kröflustö› hydro power plant, 520 metres AMSL. Area with very harsh climate;
- Hrauneyjafossstö› hydro power plant,350 metres AMSL. Area with very harsh climate; and
- Feistareykjastö› geothermal power plant, 340 metres AMSL.