Climate change mitigation will not succeed without reducing also transportation’s greenhouse gases. Transportation accounts for about one fifth of Finland’s emissions, with passenger cars accounting for close to half of that. Finland’s target is to cut transportation’s greenhouse gas emissions by fifty per cent by 2030 and to zero by 2045. Electricity is proving to be the best way to achieve carbon-neutrality in passenger transportation.
The number of electric vehicles on Finnish roadways has increased in recent years by almost 90 per cent annually; in 2020 there were already more than 40,000 EVs and plug-in hybrids in use. In Europe, EVs accounted for just under four per cent of all passenger cars in 2019, but the popularity of EVs varies significantly by country. For example, fewer than one per cent of all cars in Poland and Greece are EVs, while Norway already has more than 230,000 EVs in registered use – more per capita than any other country.
The charging network for EVs also has grown rapidly in recent years. In addition to public charging stations, Finland has seen rapid growth in household charging stations thanks to, e.g., subsidies given to housing co-operatives. It’s easy to travel with an EV: the car can be charged while it is parked, and even the fee for the charge can be paid with an app.
The electrification of motoring also reduces energy consumption. EVs require less energy than traditional passenger cars because, unlike internal combustion engines, they don’t generate heat loss. EVs are about 300–400 per cent more efficient than vehicles powered by fossil fuel.
The working group for fossil-free transport, led by Finland’s Ministry of Transport and Communications, suggests that cutting transportation emissions to half by 2030 would require Finland alone to have as many as 700,000 EVs on the roads. So we – and all of Europe – have a lot of catching up to do in electrifying passenger car transportation.