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Electric vehicles and km-based car tax spark interest in Finland, survey finds

Survey participants were not, however, especially interested in self-driving vehicles or car sharing schemes.

sähköauton lataaminen
Image: imgo stock / AOP

Nearly half of people in Finland are interested in buying a hybrid vehicle, and a little more than one-third said they'd also consider getting a fully-electric vehicle, according to a survey commissioned by Finland's Central Organisation for Motor Trades and Repairs (AKL).

Another recent poll found that one-third of Finnish residents said they would be prepared to buy an electric car.

The survey of more than 4,000 Finnish residents also found that drivers were overall concerned about the environment, but the most important issues to them regarding vehicle ownership were keeping down driving distances, time as well as costs.

Kilometre-based car taxes

More than half of the survey's respondents said they thought it would be a good idea for Finland to implement a vehicle tax based on the number of kilometres a car is driven. However, one in three said it was a bad idea.

Petrol-powered vehicles are still the most popular on Finnish roads. Most of the people owning diesel vehicles said they chose them because of the longer distances they can travel, as diesel is a relatively cheaper fuel in terms of kilometres per litre, compared to gasoline.

Respondents in Finland's larger cities — as well as those in two-car households — tended to be more excited about the prospect of driving electric vehicles. People who said they were interested in electric vehicles were generally concerned about climate change and air quality issues, as well.

Story continues after photo.

Sähköauto latauksessa.
Electric vehicle being charged. Image: Mostphotos

However, the AKL said there appears to be two stumbling blocks in getting more people behind the wheels of electric vehicles (EV). One reason is their relatively higher cost than combustion engine-powered cars, but also because of the uncertainty of finding vehicle charging stations.

The organisation noted that it would be important for housing cooperatives to invest in providing charging stations, because drivers tend to charge their cars at home.

"It is important that plans for new apartment blocks should be designed with charging stations in mind," AKL said in a press release.

As news spreads of young people taking to the streets in an effort to bring highlight climate change in the national discourse, it might be surprising to note that respondents who said they were interested gasoline-powered vehicles were young as well as working-age adults.

Diesel vs gas vs electric

However, people who said they drive less than 15,000 km every year said they would not like to drive a petrol-fuelled vehicle. Two-thirds of those who drive more than 20,000 km a year said diesels were a good alternative.

"Due to diesels being taxed at a lower rate, they're a good economical choice for those who drive more than 20,000 km per year. The reason people who don't drive diesel cars isn't [usually] due to environmental concerns, but due to the fact they drive too little," AKL's CEO Pekka Rissa said.

Around half of survey respondents said they would like to see Finland implement a kilometre-based tax on vehicles, while one-in-three said they would not give permission for anyone to monitor their driving habits.

New vehicle safety technologies — like alco-locks and driver-assisted tech — appear to interest Finnish residents, as well. However drivers were not interested much at all in autonomous, self-driving vehicles.

Drivers also weren't very enthusiastic about sharing vehicles, according to the survey most people wanted to keep the cars they drive within a single household.

Nearly 4,400 people were queried in the survey, which was commissioned by AKL, Finland's Central Organisation for Motor Trades and Repairs.

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