A motorist plugging in a car under the carport of a residential building in Helsinki on Monday, 12 June 2023. Lack of charging points at terraced houses and blocks of flats is one of the key factors slowing down the electrification of road transport in Finland, views the Finnish Information Centre of Automobile Sector (AUT). (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)


ELECTRIC VEHICLES will account for 42 per cent of the registrations of new passenger cars by 2025 and almost 70 per cent by 2030, forecasts the Finnish Information Centre of Automobile Sector (AUT).

The share stood at 18 per cent in 2022.

AUT on Tuesday stated that the current pace of electrification will not suffice to meet the national goal of at least halving transport emissions from the levels of 2005 by 2030.

As 94 per cent of passenger cars are presently combustion-engine cars and the average scrappage age is over 22 years, combustion-engine cars are expected to make up most of the stock for a while – even if their sales were discontinued in 2035, as planned by the EU. Electric cars, by contrast, currently account for 60,000 and hybrid cars for 100,000 of the 2.7 million passenger cars registered in Finland.

The forecast indicates that some 1.5 million electric vehicles will be roaming Finnish roads by 2040.

“The number of plug-in cars will not exceed that of combustion-engine cars until 2037,” said Tero Lausala, the managing director of the Finnish Central Organisation for Motor Trades and Repairs (AKL).

The main factors slowing down the electrification of the vehicle stock are the high acquisition price, limited charging opportunities and the effects of the economic situation – namely, high inflation and rising interest rates – on both households and businesses. The average cost of an electric vehicle was roughly 50,000 euros in Finland in 2022.

“The renewal of the vehicle stock has slowed down significantly since the outset of the coronavirus pandemic. The number of first registrations is forecast to be unusually low in 2023–2028,” reads the press release from AUT.

Further measures are therefore needed.

Tero Kallio, the managing director of the Association of Automobile Industry in Finland, said the four-year purchase incentive for electric vehicles has been the key contributor to the rise in the number of electric vehicles.

“If we choose to electrify the vehicle stock at a slower rate and lower the distribution obligation [for renewable fuels], the emission reduction goals will not be met. We would then have to substantially raise the distribution obligation at the end of the decade or purchase emission rights from other EU countries,” he commented.

“Purchase incentives for electric vehicles therefore benefit also motorists with combustion-engine cars.”

Another key measure increasing the number of electric vehicles is installing charging stations to as many residential buildings as possible, Aki Tilli, a senior expert at the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom), stated to STT on Tuesday.

“It’d be absolutely important that housing companies offer the best possible charging opportunities,” he said to the news agency.

Tilli added that public attitudes toward electric vehicles have become more positive, even though the debate on social media remains pugnacious. An AUT survey has found that 82 per cent of households would very or quite probably buy a petrol or petrol-hybrid car, 55 per cent a plug-in hybrid car and 42 per cent a fully electric car if they had to replace their old car.

“Positive attitudes increase as people’s personal experiences of electric vehicles increase,” he summed up.

The high cost of acquisition remains the greatest obstacle to the proliferation of electric vehicles, agreed Tilli. He estimated that the obligation of fuel suppliers to supply a certain share of renewable fuels is unlikely to have a notable impact on the proliferation of electric vehicles.

“Even if the distribution obligation was lowered, it wouldn’t reduce fuel prices too notably,” he said to STT.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT