When I imagined having an electric car it was like entering the future – with some sort of digital goggles, cybernetic robotic elements growing from my arms and of course a giant ‘mega Dane’ badge.
Denmark is the third most electric-vehicle friendly country in the world, which sounds pretty hyggelig. You imagine Danes draping blankets over their sleeping electric cars as they gently charge, resting for another extremely dejlig day in Denmark.
Unfortunately it just means the number of sales and availability of charging points are high compared to the rest of the oil-drinking world. It’s been a journey discovering just how much more infrastructure there needs to be to make it fully reliable – but I have learnt a lot about my new 2024 Danish identity.
My journey with an EV has been fun but not quite a sci-fi movie. More like a romantic comedy where I’m sometimes sat at a charging station practicing my danish curse words.
The car is pretty, acceleration is nice. It’s nice not to be burning oil but there is a big challenge: the charging.
You have to think about the battery at all times. It’s the baby of the car and you’re basically the jordmor, visiting regularly to check it isn’t dead.
As such, you don’t just have to think of your destination but of course plan some sort of charging along the way so it doesn’t die. This means you’ll be taken to some real bonderøv places. Off the motorvej, where your GPS is telling you that through some flække in the corner of a depressing car park 20km away, is a charging station just waiting to feed that little baby.
Apps, stress, re-routing and suddenly you’ll find that charging spot is taken. Sometimes there’s just a car sitting in it, not charging, just like a big fat blockage between you and your green battery.
After waiting eternally, it will eventually become your turn. And now you really discover the inside of your car, because suddenly you’re spending even more time there as it takes so long to charge.
And whilst it powers you sit there a bit like a lemon, looking at nearby buildings and thinking “dear god, who would actually live here?!” You can instead look at your phone, write to people complaining about how long charging takes (but remember to mention how cheap it is) but don’t make eye contact with the driver of the car next to you – that is awkward.
Charging aside, there are some benefits to an EV. The main being the smug face every EV driver is permanently pulling. You walk to your charging vehicle with a false sense of superiority, an environmental genius, looking down upon all the oily citizens around.
You almost expect a flock of endangered birds to flutter out the vehicle as you open the door, a panda to greet you inside with a noble handshake. Of course we know EV vehicles do terrible damage to the environment during production but knowing you don’t emit fumes does make one feel quite comfortable on their pedestal, especially in Denmark.
You feel that the electric car is really the final piece of the puzzle: watched Borgen, got the Kay Bojesen abe, PureGym membership and now a mega-Dane EV.
I might be yet to have the digital goggles or cybernetic arms but I feel I’ve entered a new era in Denmark with an electric car. Maybe zen comes with the long charging periods, maybe that’s when Danes practice their snakke, polish their white sneakers and actually check eBoks.
More time in bonderøv danmark, slapping af and whispering sweet compliments to the car: “du er så dejlig. Jeg elsker den måde, du oplader til sådan en rimelig pris…”
Conrad Molden is a comedian, writer and father living with his wonderful wife and two children in København. He’s been in Denmark for the last 11 years and somehow managed to fejl at læring the dansk. His unique style of blending English and Danish, with observations about international life in Denmark, has become a beacon for English-language comedy. He has three comedy specials streaming on YouTube including his most recent: “Hyggelicious” and is currently on tour with his new one-man-show “ÆØÅ”.