EV charging status: Finland

December 15, 2022
4 min
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With the EU banning the sale of new gas and diesel-powered vehicles by 2035, Finns are making the change to electric cars even earlier. It helped that Finland offered a €2000 subsidy towards purchasing a new EV. The designated pool of money was expected to last until March of 2023. But Finnish drivers averaged 800-1000 programme applications each month and used up the funds this fall. So it’s no surprise that the EV market in Finland is expected to grow by 22.46% by 2027. That’s a lot of EVs on the road.

We at VOOL love EV drivers and upgrading their electric vechicle charging experience. We need to understand their charging habits if we want to do things well. Knowing what EV drivers need, want, or hate means we’ll make excellent products to check all the boxes.

Hungry to learn more about our Finnish EV-driving friends, we surveyed them about where and when they charge their EVs and what motivates their charging habits.

Here’s what we learned.

Charging must be convenient (and cheaper)

It is no surprise that charging has to be convenient, like stopping to fill your tank with gas but without the air-polluting thing. Electric vechicle charging infrastructure in Finland has come a long way in recent years, but not like having a gas station at every corner yet. Instead, Finnish EV drivers plan ahead to avoid dreaded range anxiety.

So, where is it most convenient for Finns to charge their EVs? At home. Overwhelmingly that’s where the vast majority of respondents charge their car most often. Close to a quarter of respondents indicated that public chargers are their fill-up spots of choice.

A lucky 10% chunk of respondents told us they can charge at work. It seems that the sweet spot is charging where you’re already going to be spending a lot of time.

Another convenience factor? EV owners in Finland who charge at home are choosing to charge overnight. It makes sense — electricity tends to be cheaper and your car isn’t in use.

The majority of respondents use the electric vechicle charger that comes with the car. The people have spoken — a convenient plug-and-play approach. But the group in close second is those drivers who chose to purchase a charger from an electronics retailer. Close to 20% of respondents went the professional route and hired an electrician to handle the sourcing and installation. Safety first!

With the enthusiasm Finnish car buyers showed for the EV purchase subsidies, we weren’t surprised to see that electic car owners pointed out electricity prices as a factor in charging habits. EV charging in Finland tends to happen when electricity prices are lower — it ranked second in the importance of factors for charging. Electricity prices were also a common write-in answer for when drivers choose to charge. With market-rate electricity contracts and price tracking, Finnish EV drivers can manage their cost to charge — unlike drivers who rely on gas and diesel.

Even though most Finnish EV owners have a good set-up at home (or work), some can’t get enough of the charge juice at Lidl.

Our favourite answer to illustrate the love of convenient charging: “How do you choose when to charge? Whenever the Lidl free charger is available.”

Electric vechicles must be ready to drive when needed

When asked to rank the factors important to them when charging, EV drivers in Finland consistently answered that the car should be fully charged by the time specified. Makes sense to us! How they go about making sure that happens varies.

We’re all individuals with our own preferences and habits. Electric car charging routines for Finnish drivers are no exception.

We weren’t surprised to see that the most common prompt for charging was being close to a charger — convenience. Again, the most common answer for convenient EV charging is people’s homes.

However, we were a bit surprised to see that almost a quarter of respondents choose to charge when their battery is low — we’re talking battery levels of 15% or less. We got anxiety from just thinking about it.

Meanwhile, charging when the battery is around 50% full and right before a long trip are the other most common answers, together accounting for just over a third of respondents.

This translates to two main charging routines for EV drivers in Finland. The first — a majority — charge daily (or nightly). The second most common charging habit is to top up a few times a week. This likely corresponds to people’s driving habits as well, but we didn’t dive into that level of detail this time.

Charging issues affecting Finnish EV drivers

While the network of charging places in Finland is growing to meet the new demand some drivers still find it difficult to charge their EVs conveniently. Finnish respondents living in apartment buildings indicated the lack the convenience factor that EV owners with single-family homes or townhouses enjoy. Apartment buildings, especially those that aren’t recently built, are lagging behind in EV charging options.

And then there are all the apps!

For example, one respondent said, “One app for every operator would be great; at the moment, I have six different apps!”

We feel your pain.

Despite these issues, once they have a routine in place Finns don’t put too much thought into where and when to charge –– whether at home overnight, at work, or at their local Lidl.

Finnish electric car owners have spoken: they want their cars to be charged and ready to go when needed — ideally saving money while they charge up.

About us

We’re VOOL, an Estonian start-up bringing the maximum grid power to everyone. We’re a group of engineers, designers, and power enthusiasts (electrical, not the take over the world kind) making electrical access sustainable and equitable — starting with electric vehicle chargers.
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