This City Will Have the World’s First Fully Electric Public Transit System

Both environmental and health-related concerns are driving the change

A view of the Oslo business district at dusk
The Norwegian city is ahead of the environmentally-friendly curve.
Getty Images

Cities and countries around the world have been investing in EV charging and emission-free transportation in increasingly greater numbers. But one city is beating out everyone on the electric public transit front. Oslo, Norway has announced plans for its transportation system to be fully electric by the end of 2023. 

Oslo already has a system of eclectic trains, ferries and trams, along with some buses. But by the end of next year, the Scandinavian city will replace its remaining diesel buses with shiny new eclectic ones. According to Reuters, the 450 new buses will cost about $47 million, a hefty price tag that will actually save the city money in the long run.

“The maintenance is cheaper, it’s also cheaper for the operators of the electric buses,” Sirin Stav, Oslo’s Vice Mayor for Environment and Transport, explained to Reuters. “All in all, this is a win-win situation.” 

Climate change is definitely the driving factor in Oslo’s electric transit initiative, but good health is another big reason for the change. A recent United Nations report said that pollution is the biggest threat to European public health and accounted for 300,000 premature deaths in 2019.  

Electric cars already outnumber gas cars in Oslo, which further contribute to the city’s goal of becoming the world’s first emission-free city by 2030. Besides electric transportation, Oslo wants to improve walking and biking routes so residents and tourists alike can explore the city in a cleaner way. Electric vehicles do have their own issues with the increasing amount of old batteries to reuse or recycle, but it’s definitely better than the emissions and pollution that come with gas-powered transportation.


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