Report: Adoption of electric cars requires creation of suitable operational conditions

Ministry of Transport and Communications
Publication date 16.2.2011 12.01
Press release

Suitable operational conditions for the adoption of electric cars should be created now, even though they are not expected to produce significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions until 2030. Large-scale adoption of electric cars requires the construction of a public network of charging stations. Use of electric cars will not, however, solve the fundamental problems of private car traffic: constantly increasing traffic volumes and congestion.

The above statements are made in a report on electric cars submitted to Ms Anu Vehviläinen, Minister of Transport on 16 February 2011.

In spring 2010, Minister Vehviläinen commissioned a report looking into the impacts that large-scale adoption of electric cars would have on the Finnish transport system. The report was produced by Research Professor Nils-Olof Nylund of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

According to the report, electric cars are expected to have little effect on carbon dioxide emissions from transport during the current decade, and their adoption is not necessary in terms of achieving the energy and climate goals set for 2020, either. In 2030, however, electric cars will begin to have a more considerable impact on carbon dioxide emissions from transport, and in order to reach the preliminary climate targets set for 2050, a major shift will be needed towards the use of electric cars in private car traffic.

According to the report, wider adoption of electric cars would not reduce the growth of private car traffic or congestion. The report thus stresses that activities designed to promote the use of electric cars should not be in conflict with the development of public transport.

Making the use of electric cars equally easy to all citizens requires that a public charging network be constructed. Building regulations should account for the opportunity to charge electric cars. The charging process should be designed so that it does not create momentary surges in electricity consumption or require additional power. According to the report, electricity production capacity in itself does not pose a limitation to the adoption of electric cars.

In Finland where driving distances are often long, plug-in hybrids are considered a more useful and cost-efficient option than all-electric cars, which are best suited for short trips and urban transport.

The report also puts forward a number of recommendations to promote the adoption of electric cars. According to the report the most urgent of these include measures to launch demo projects on electric cars, ensure the safety of electric cars, incorporate the opportunity to charge electric cars in building regulations, create an information system on public charging stations, conduct research and product development and provide training for professionals needed in repair shops, vehicle inspection and rescue tasks.

Further information:
Mr Mikael Nyberg, Senior Adviser, tel.+358 9 160 28553, +358 40 837 8794
Mr Nils-Olof Nylund, Research Professor, tel.+358 20 722 5518, +358 400 703 715

Anu Vehviläinen