People in Finland lead a happy life. The Finns have the highest ranking in the current UN World Happiness Report. However, Finland is already working on ways to build on this success – with a combination of modern technology and traditional affinity to nature.
Most Finns find happiness outdoors. Even those who are a permanent resident in one of the larger cities such as Helsinki, Turku or Tampere frequently head in their free time to one of the country’s 40 national parks. This love of nature is one of the decisive reasons why the northern European country reached first place in the current UN happiness survey.
In spite of this success, the Finns are not resting on their laurels. In order to preserve nature and to make life even more pleasant, they have become pioneers in the field of smart technology. Today, almost 50 percent of power consumption is already covered by renewable energy sources. And the Finns are focusing on lighthouse projects such as the one in the district of Kalasatama in Helsinki. In the past, fishermen came ashore here, but today an ultramodern “smart city” district is emerging. By the year 2030, 25,000 people could be living here who operate the traditional Finnish home sauna by app, saving electricity thanks to intelligent algorithms and having their waste disposed of by a robot.
However, so far, on Finland’s roads, little is to be seen of the link between the preservation of nature and the use of technology. It is true that mobility does play a major role, because in this sparsely populated country the distances between cities or to the national parks are considerable. Most Finns have always used their own conventionally powered cars to get around in. But as of late, an astonishing trend reversal is taking place in this area as well: The number of electric cars registered last year has doubled to 1,500 – the BMW i3 in particular being highly sought after.
In order to further strengthen interest in sustainable mobility, technology associations, nature organizations and manufacturers such as the BMW Group are now also taking an unusual approach when campaigning for sustainable mobility. “At the Pori Asuntomessut, Finland’s largest trade fair for ‘house and living‘, we are demonstrating not only the advantages of an electrically powered BMW. We are also presenting variants of BMW charging stations: One for the home that can be harmoniously integrated into your own garage as well as an official charging point with a standardized outlet, permitting electric cars produced by many other manufacturers to be charged up with energy,” says Pirkka Poole from BMW Finland. The Finns, with their profound interest in sustainable technology, would most definitely expect people to think ahead and seek mobility solutions that go beyond the purchase of a vehicle.
Therefore, last year, the BMW Group and DriveNow also launched Finland’s first car sharing service. Since then, hundreds of BMWs and MINIs have been out and about in the Greater Helsinki Area. Electric i3 models account for around ten percent of the fleet. And to reach users of the future right now, BMW is holding ready special DriveNow options for dwellers of student residences.
BMW e-mobility experts are confident that the still relatively small market for electric cars in Finland will grow exponentially in the coming years. The objective is already clear: During their free time, Finns will predominantly travel in rented electric cars to their national parks, where they can enjoy nature and charge their vehicles at solar-powered charging stations.