Climate Action

Icelandic cars running on geothermal power

The number of fully electric cars in Iceland has increased five-fold since January 2014 with ON Power, the operator of Iceland’s two largest geothermal power plants, playing a key role

  • 02 September 2015
  • William Brittlebank
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The number of fully electric cars in Iceland has increased five-fold since January 2014 with ON Power, the operator of Iceland’s two largest geothermal power plants, playing a key role.

Fully electric cars, which many major car manufacturers have introduced in recent years, have been popular with Icelanders and since January 2014, the number of fully electric cars in the country has risen from just above a hundred to over five hundred.

Since virtually all electricity in Iceland is generated from renewable sources, the country is viewed as particularly suitable for revolutionising transportation.

Hybrid cars still have the upper hand among Iceland’s population of 320,000 and there are three times as many hybrids as the fully electric cars on the roads.

ON Power operates the geothermal power plants at Hellisheidi and Nesjavellir and has taken a leading role in this development by introducing toll-free fast charging in Iceland’s capital area.

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Ten such stations are already in operation and more are on the way. These installations have proven to be a psychological stepping-stone for drivers that have tended to feel unsure whether their environmentally friendly vehicles will reach their destination.

Surveys have shown that ON Power’s fast-charging stations in Iceland are used more than similar stations in Norway, which leads the way in the implementation of electric transportation.

ON Power’s geothermal plants are the country’s two largest and their combined electric capacity of around 400 megawatts provides Iceland’s capital Reykjavik with 50 per cent of the geothermal water needed for its district heating.