The Arctic Race of Norway will be the first professional bicycle race to use only electric cars.
The lack of charging stations was a challenge, but a solution is now in place.
This year, at least 45 electric cars will follow the ARN peloton.
The Arctic Race of Norway is the world’s northernmost professional cycling race.
Help reduce emissions
The Arctic Race of Norway wants to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change is the biggest challenge the world faces today, and it is in the Arctic that climate change is the most significant. This makes this initiative in the world’s northernmost professional cycling race even more relevant.
Due to the distance between Northern Norway and the places where the cycling teams usually reside, the Arctic Race of Norway and its Official Partner Hyundai provide cars for all the teams that participate. This initiative has translated an opportunity into reality.
“Hyundai provides all the cars to the Arctic Race of Norway. The car manufacturer strongly believes in the development of electric cars and wanted to use electric cars on the race. We thought it was a good idea. This helps reduce emissions. We also have plenty of clean electric power in Northern Norway”, says Knut-Eirik Dybdal, CEO of the Arctic Race of Norway.
Overcoming infrastructure challenges
But when the ambition of using electric cars came to the table, some challenges also emerged. It is no secret that the infrastructure for electric cars in Northern Norway, in the form of charging stations, lags behind the rest of the country. This is what the Arctic Race of Norway aims at improving.
“We took this as a challenge and contacted the hydropower companies in the region to see if they could help solve this issue. The response was overwhelming. We now have a solution in place, which means that several cars in this year’s race will be powered by clean power produced in Northern Norway”, says Dybdal.
Hydropower companies came up with a solution
The power companies Nordkraft, Lofotkraft, Hålogaland Kraft, Vesterålskraft and Trollfjord joined forces to finance a mobile charging station that will be used during the Arctic Race of Norway. Vesterålskraft CEO Halvard Pettersen is pleased with the cooperation.
“We are far behind with the electrification of the car fleet in Northern Norway, primarily because there are not enough charging stations. Through the initiative of the Arctic Race of Norway, we have found a mobile solution for this year’s race. And we will keep working to find permanent solutions.”
Beneficial for Northern Norway
Though this project, the Arctic Race of Norway directly contributes to the development of Northern Norway. Mobile charging stations to be used during the bicycle race will be available for other sports and cultural events in the region, during the whole year.
“We will use a mobile solution in 2019, but our vision is to develop several permanent charging stations in the region during the coming years. This will make it easier for local people and companies to embrace new technologies”, says Dybdal.
Aiming for zero emissions in the car fleet
Hyundai is also pleased that the Arctic Race of Norway will be the world’s first cycling race that only uses electric cars.
“Our aim is zero emissions in our fleet in Norway. That is why it is a great opportunity to help develop the necessary infrastructure in Northern Norway, thanks to the Arctic Race of Norway”, says Hyundai Motor Norway Marketing Director Christian Stenbo.
The aim of the Arctic Race of Norway is that its entire fleet comprising 120 cars becomes fully electric within three years.
Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France: “Proof, if ever it was needed, that the Arctic Race of Norway is much more than just a cycling race. This project is a significant step forward that goes to show how our sport is focused on the future and throwing its weight behind the transition to a more responsible and eco-friendly world. Like the Tour de France, the Arctic Race of Norway is merely a visitor to the landscapes it goes through and, therefore, it has a duty to protect this grandiose yet delicate natural environment.