Company press photo of a ferry within the Havila Kystruten fleet, which will not allow EVs and hydrogen cars on their ships due to increased fire risk.
07 Feb 2023

Norwegian shipping company bans electric cars on board classic ferry route


The Norwegian shipping company Havila Kystruten will no longer allow electric cars on board its ships, according to Norwegian Television NRK. The consequences of an electric car fire are considered too severe, states the company.

The scenic Hurtigruten coastal route between Bergen and Kirkenes runs along the coast of Norway. From 2021, the two shipping companies Hurtigruten and Havila share a mutual agreement on the traffic between the two destinations.


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"Toxic gases are released"
After just over a year in scheduled traffic, the shipping company Havilia is now making changes to its regulations. Going forward,  electric cars, hybrid cars and also hydrogen cars will not be allowed on board.


Risk analysis found lithium batteries too risky onboard

The decision was made after an external risk analysis was made on behalf of the company. What the risk analysis found was that fires in electric cars are considered more difficult to extinguish than fires in cars powered by petrol and diesel.

"An electric car fire gets very hot, and there may be a risk of explosion where toxic gases will be released. This can mean that you have to evacuate the ship immediately and in the worst case you can have a total breakdown of the ship, says Lasse A. Vangstein who is in charge of communications at Havila Kystruten to NRK.



Competing ferry company continues to allow all types of cars

The competitor Hurtigruten makes a different assessment and will continue to allow all types of cars.

"We have transported cars between all ports for 40 years, and.. we have no plans to stop it, says press spokesperson Martin Henriksen.

The issue of electric car fires on board ships is becoming more controversial in Scandinavia as more and more car owners switch to electric cars. When Finnish Television company YLE reported on the matter recently, the shipping companies Viking line and Ålandstrafiken stated that all types of cars are permitted board their ships as long as there is no reason to believe the battery has been damaged.



Many EVs in Norway due to government subsidies

Referencing the Norwegian Directorate for Safety and Preparedness (DSB), the NRK news company says that fires in fossil fuel cars are 4-5 times as common as fires in electric cars. 

However, as fire inspector Sigurd Folgerø Dalen at the Oslo Fire Department said to Faktisk.no, large amounts of water will be needed if an EV catches fire. 

According to NRK, already in 2019 there was speculation regarding if the shipping company Havila Kystruten  would allow EVs on their new route. However, then CEO Arild Myrvoll decided to allow them based on the need on the population.

Norway has had government incentives towards purchasing electric cars for many years and therefor a large fleet of EVs are on the road in the country. 


Photo Credit: (Above) Company press photo of one of the ferry ships within the Havila Kystruten fleet.