State to Subsidise Rental EVs with ISK 1 Billion

Minister Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarsson.

In further efforts to meet its commitments to reduce CO2 emissions, the state will support car rental companies this year with some ISK 1 billion [$7.2 million, €6.7 million] in subsidies to accelerate the electrification of their fleets.

Minister of Environment, Energy, and Climate Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson stated recently that Iceland’s tourism industry must also play a role in the energy transition. This includes not just the electrification of the rental fleet, but also an expansion of charging stations at hotels and guesthouses throughout the nation.

Iceland to Buy Emission Allowances to Meet Kyoto Commitments

The matter was discussed at a cabinet meeting last Friday, March 17.

Minister Guðlaugur stated: “We will be supporting the car rentals to acquire electric cars. This is extremely important in order for us to achieve the energy transition,  as car rentals are naturally a large part of the national car fleet. And if we are going to reach our goals for electric vehicles, then car rentals have to be included. And it’s by including the car rentals, that we will be able to reach our goals much sooner.”

Read more: Public Transport Funding

According to the Minister, the higher average cost of electric vehicles has until now been a barrier to these companies from buying more of them. The subsidies will be structured like the subsidies already available to individuals, which remove VAT up to a certain limit on EVs.

In his statement on the EV subsidies, the Minister also highlighted the lack of charging stations across Iceland as a bottleneck.

“It is likewise very important that hotels and guesthouses cooperate, for this to be a viable option […] And in order for us to prevent ‘charging anxiety’ and for this to be as efficient as possible, people must be able to charge at night,” Guðlaugur said.

Tourist Falls to Her Death at Glymur

glymur tourist death

A foreign tourist fell to her death yesterday morning, March 22, at Glymur, a popular waterfall and hiking area in Hvalfjörður.

Glymur is a popular hiking destination, notable as the second-tallest waterfall in Iceland. An accessible day hike during the summer, conditions are very different during the winter, with ice and steep slopes along the gorge making for treacherous going.

According to Morgunblaðið, the woman was on a hike with her partner when she slipped and fell off the edge into the gorge, dying instantly. She was in her 20s.

ICE-SAR stated: “The operation was difficult and demanding, as there was a lot of ice in the gorge, and there were concerns of a collapse over the rescue team. Unfortunately, the woman was dead by the time ICE-SAR arrived.”

In addition to ICE-SAR teams, police were also on the scene.

Fatal Accident on Mt. Kirkjufell

A similar death occurred last fall, when a tourist fell to their death from Mt. Kirkjufell, a popular mountain on the Snæfellsnes peninsula.

The deaths have raised questions about restricting access to these sites and the legality of such restrictions. In Iceland, all land is covered by a “right to wander,” meaning that individuals may pass through areas at will, as long they do not stay overnight or economically exploit it without permission, such as by fishing or hunting.

Regarding the recent accident, Margrét Björk Björnsdóttir, head of communications for the West Iceland Regional Office, stated: “The municipality has been trying to make improvements, but this is a popular hiking trail that needs to be managed better. An application has been made to the municipality’s tourist attractions development fund, but it is a drop in the bucket compared to what needs to be done, because the route is dangerous.”

Previous injuries on the hiking trail to Glymur have included broken legs and sprains, but this is the first recorded death at the waterfall.