Exploring emissions through other cultures

Exploring emissions through other cultures

Those of you who know me have heard me talk about Gemba before. It is something we learned from Japanese businesspeople. It translates to “go and see.”

So, when ClimateWorks invited NACFE to Oslo, Norway, to meet with other organizations (50 people in total) to further their Drive Electric Campaign, I eagerly accepted to see what I could learn.

While in Oslo, I spent one very long day with 22 other people from global NGOs working on how to accelerate the adoption of electric trucks globally. I was one of four trained facilitators who were able to help unearth some amazing actions for us to work on collectively and individually.

See also: NACFE demonstrates use case for electric vans and step vans

On Day 2 we immersed ourselves in Norway, a country that is leading in the area of ​​electrified transportation.

Here are a few things I learned:

  • 99% of all power in the country is renewable.
  • In March 2022, 83% of all new car sales were battery electric cars.
  • Plug-in hybrids are now on the way out with their share topped out at 20% and now under 10%.
  • NIO, a Chinese electric auto manufacturer and provider of battery swapping systems that we visited, is operating in Oslo, Norway, and other countries.
  • A World War II bunker has been turned into a car parking and charging garage for EVs.
  • There are five all-electric ferries around the beautiful city of Oslo, each holding 300 people and more than 100 cars.
  • We learned from drivers of electric delivery trucks operated by DB Schenker at the Oslo City Hub, a place where fleets can collaborate for various modes of electric goods movement.

I came away from the trip both impressed and energized. There are so many smart people working on decarbonizing transportation, and they have plenty of innovative ideas on how to best accomplish that. I am also fascinated with the spirit of cooperation among the various parties that have a role to play in reducing emissions in the transportation sector. There seems to be an open exchange of information taking place as we all work to find the best ways to scale zero-emission vehicles.

I left Oslo more invigorated than ever about the ability to scale electric trucks in North America, and I am excited to chart NACFE’s course for helping the trucking industry continue down the road to an electric future. If the opportunity presents itself, I suggest you “go and see” what others are doing in the area of ​​clean transportation. That way we can learn lessons from others who have already done some of what we aspire to.


Michael Roeth has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for nearly 30 years, most recently as executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency. He serves on the second National Academy of Sciences Committee on Technologies and Approaches for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and has held various positions in engineering, quality, sales, and plant management with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.