Travelling is no longer as self-evident as it used to be. With the world slowly opening up again, we find ourselves making more conscious choices in not just the destination we travel to, but also the type of activities, accommodation and transportation that we use. Today, we drive around Oslo Green City with the BMW iX xDrive40.
Recently, we got approached by BMW to experience driving their brand new BMW iX xDrive40 electric vehicle in the future-oriented city of Oslo in Norway, which was named “European Green Capital” in 2019 for its dedication to conserving natural areas and reducing pollution.
What better than going on an Oslo Green City Experience with a brand that turned sustainable design from theory into reality and is on the road (quite literally) towards climate-neutral and emission-free car mobility?
Thanks to BMW’s comprehensive sustainability concept, the BMW iX is 45% below a comparable motorized SAV with a diesel engine in a comparison of greenhouse gas emissions over the entire life cycle. They achieved that through the use of exclusively renewable energies during production as well as the use of natural materials and recyclates throughout the design of the car.
Oslo has a strong focus on sustainable urban living, offering many experiences that reflect this attitude, so let’s dive right in and show you our favourite spots, while at the same time showing you a close-up of all features of the car.
ELECTRIC DRIVING EXPERIENCE OSLO, NORWAY
NORWAY: COUNTRY WITH CIRCULAR AMBITION
The country of Norway is far ahead when it comes to electric car adoption. The government embarked on a program to establish at least two fast-charging stations every 50 km on all main roads and Oslo honours its title of “Green Capital” by continuing to outline new, sustainable goals.
Oslo is one of the greenest capitals in Europe and features in the top 5 most sustainable cities in the world. Many former industrial sites have been turned into energy-efficient areas making use of geothermal wells, solar water heating and recycled energy for its residential and commercial buildings.
The city is among the world’s best when it comes to using green technology and they are also leaders when it comes to the electrification of the transport sector.
Electric Car Charging Points in Norway
With an ever-growing network of public charging points throughout Norway, but also the rest of the world, electric driving will soon be readily available for everyone!
Sustainable Features BMWiX
We were pleasantly surprised by the sustainable features of the BMW iX: The control island made of FSC certified wood, floor covering produced with recycled fishing nets, leather colored with olive leaves.
BMW is even the world’s first car manufacturer producing tires from sustainable natural rubber! And to top it off, during the entire production, renewable energy was used.
MUST SEE IN OSLO
Oslo Opera House
The Opera House in Oslo is the real eye-catcher in the Bjørvika area. This is the place where the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet and other world-class artists perform, but the building is quite a star on its own. The modern angular building, designed by architect Tarald Lundevall of the Norwegian firm Snøhetta, blends into Oslo’s natural landscape.
Bonus tip: If you walk over the white marble and granite roof, you’ll get the best views over the harbour.
Website = www.operaen.no
While we didn’t have time to fit in an actual Opera performance, the 4D sound in the iX compensated that quite a bit! There were even speakers in the headsets on the backseat chairs, which (together with the fantastic glass panoramic roof) were perhaps my favourite feature of the car.
But my absolute number one was the fact that from the floating center control, I could pick a song and turn the music up just by waving my hands up and down! This must be what the future looks like…
Museum Peninsula Bygdoy
Before we drove over to the peninsula with the iX (on one of the more sunny days during our stay in Oslo we took the ferry, which was also very convenient), we quickly bought some refreshments in one of the shops at the Aker Brygge wharf.
For Nick a fresh coffee, for me a matcha latte tea – always. And for both of us a fresh kanelbolle. This typical local cinnamon roll is something that should be obligatory on any visit to Scandinavia!
Driving in a place that you’re not familiar with is always a bit exciting, but Nick had no trouble navigating the streets of Oslo.
I would love to address this 100% to his driving skills, but I’m sure that the intelligent digital steering, lane control and parking assistants guiding him from the BMW Curved Display played a large part in it too – don’t tell Nick I said that!
Norwegian Folk Museum
Our first visit was to the open air Norsk Folkemuseum, where we secretly enjoyed our cinnamon bun in one of the historic buildings. Happiness can often be found in the simplest things, don’t you agree?
This expansive museum was founded in 1894 by Hans Aall with about 155 buildings such as old houses, churches and barns from over the entire country. Highlight for us was by far the 13th century Gol Stave Church, which dates all the way back to 1216! And walking through the recreated street lined with half-timbered houses also made us forget for a second that we were actually walking around in a modern city!
Website = www.norskfolkemuseum.no
We also visited the Fram Museum and can highly recommend it. The Fram (which in Norwegian means forward) was a ship that was used on various voyages of exploration to the polar regions. It was built especially for this purpose by order of Fridtjof Nansen in 1892.
The museum is very interactive, letting us explore every corner of the ship and sharing the stories of the crew in great detail, which made history almost come alive. Especially going into the “ice-room”, we were so happy that we have less dangerous jobs as an architect and travel blogger instead of having to endure freezing temperatures while living in tents on one of the poles, ha!
Website = www.frammuseum.no
More Oslo Museums
Other museums on the peninsula that we would have loved to visit, but simply didn’t have the time for were: the Kon-Tiki Museet, the Norwegian Maritime Museum and the Vikingsskipshuset (Viking ship museum).
From the ferry, we also came past the impressive building of the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, which we heard has great exhibitions. Next time!
OSLO FOR DESIGN LOVERS
As one of the fastest growing capitals of Europe, Oslo has seen a lot of large construction projects realized in the past years. Visiting Oslo with an architect, of course there were some areas that we couldn’t skip during our stay.
For example, we drove the iX to Barcode, a newly developed area consisting of twelve narrow high-rise buildings of different heights and widths. The buildings are built with some space in between them, thus jointly resembling a barcode. Here, you can find more high-end shops, art galleries and restaurants, but let’s be fair: we only came here so Nick could touch some walls.
Another spot we didn’t want to miss was the Oslobukta neighbourhood. This is a completely new borough featuring many different restaurants and shops, a fantastic swimming pier and unique buildings that gave off a relaxing vibe on the sunny day we walked around here.
While the Munch Museum wasn’t yet open when we visited, the building alone was incredible to see. The architects from the Spanish firm estudio Herreros designed a building that will definitely compliment Edvard Munch’s works, which the artist donated to the museum upon his death.
Website = www.munchmuseet.no
GREEN, SUSTAINABLE FOOD OPTIONS IN OSLO
We were delighted to see that many restaurants in Oslo offer green menus with locally grown organic produce or meat-free meals. Also the offer of international cuisines surprised us a lot. The price of most restaurants and drinks also surprised us, haha, but with the higher priced meals also came great quality and plenty of options, so we couldn’t really complain.
Our favourite spots included:
This coffee bar isn’t like others. It’s basically a micro roastery and espresso bar, run by World Barista Champion and World Cup Tasters Champion Tim Wendelboe. They have the goal of being among the best in the world, so of course we had to make a stop and confirm that indeed, their coffee is something to write home about!
A true meeting point of different kitchens from all over the world in a large venue filled with people and a good atmosphere. With 16 different food stalls and 4 bars, there is something here for everyone! We especially enjoyed the Okonomiyaki dish from “Gohan” and the Greek Gyros from “Meraki”. Topped off with a Norwegian beer and cider, of course.
Vulkan is a newly developed environmentally conscious neighborhood in Oslo, which arose from a former industrial site by the river Akerselva. This vibrant neighborhood features Oslo’s first international food court: Mathallen.
We parked our BMW iX right in front of the Mathallen and hopped inside for a fresh lunch from fish specialist “Vulkanfisk Sjømatbar”. I went for the salmon poke bowl, which was MASSIVE (and tasted sooo good!) and Nick went for the fish burger, which I almost didn’t get photographed since he devoured it pretty much right away (as he should). Now we were all charged up and ready to go again!
By the way, we didn’t have to charge our car (BMW iX xDrive40), since it has such low power consumption (less than 23 kWh/100 km) and a range of up to 425 km. But, if we needed to, we were told that the car charges from 10% to 80% in less than 40 minutes! What’s also cool is that the iX can automatically add suitable charging breaks to your road trip route for destinations that are outside your available range.
This informal and relaxing restaurant opened as Norway’s first street food restaurant in 2013. The food is inspired by the hawkers found throughout South-East Asia and served family-style, made to share. Our party dug into a huge pork knuckle and perhaps even bigger redfish that was fried perfectly. The side dishes included watermelon salad and Thai fish cakes that I still dream about. Everything was so packed full of flavour and the staff really knew how to entertain us well all evening.
In the evening, we stopped by this cocktail bar that is famous for its use of home-grown herbs. The interior is covered with climbing plants, the bar has its own greenhouse and all drinks are made with fresh ingredients and botanic elements. Love it!
Vippa is another great food court situated on the edge of the Oslo fjord. There are 11 food stands, offering sustainable and diverse food. While we feel this would be a better place to visit during summer, when you can have a drink in the sun outside, we still have a fun time visiting in fall! Take not though, that Vippa is located a bit out of the center, so if you’re here just for a short while, you might want to skip it.
ECO-FRIENDLY SHOPPING IN OSLO
On our last day in the city, we headed over to the Grünerløkka area, where we found many vintage shops and local design businesses. This neighbourhood is perfect to pick up a souvenir before heading home!
You might want to check out:
- Velouria Vintage
- Søstrene Grene
- Lille Fot
- Chillout Travel Store
- Noa Noa
- Retro Lykke
- Vintage Wear by Ny York
- Fretex Unika
- … and many more!
ELECTRIC DRIVING: THE FUTURE OF TRAVEL?
Human consumption has a major impact on the climate and environment, and as conscious consumers, we can all make a difference. That is the power of choice!
Encouraging the use of electric vehicles will not only help cities and countries reach their climate goals, it will also greatly reduce air and noise pollution, and enhance the urban environment for its citizens.
Sustainability goes hand in hand with a better quality of life and we believe that good design lies at the heart of our new, circular economy. Recessed door handles, frameless doors, streamflow windows, a freestanding, floating center console and even standard 5G state-of-the-art internet connection… These elements are (while super cool) just a small part of what makes the BMW iX innovative! With natural & recycled materials, low power consumption and a large range, this car has been designed with sustainability in mind and redefines what car travel can look like.
BMW iX is truly leading the way for a future generation of more sustainable transportation. And it all started by adopting a sustainable mindset and saying YES to trying new things, which is all that we stand for here at The Travel Tester. Let us know: When will you take the journey with BMW to shape the future?
The Inside of the BMW iX
The Outside of the BMW iX
Disclaimer: This is a paid partnership with BMW
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