Ecological car-sharing leads the way
About a year ago, Salla Ski Resort purchased a Nissan Leaf for car-sharing purposes. The car is charged using renewable energy at the resort’s charging station. The users have been pleasantly surprised by the properties of the car – even in the winter.
The idea of purchasing an electric car for customers and the Ski Resort’s short trips in the area came slowly and gradually. The resort wanted to make it easier for customers to visit the town and the shops but purchasing a petrol car did not seem like a good idea. As the resort is all about eco-friendliness, an electric car would be a much better fit.
– We investigated the driving distances and winter-driving properties of electric cars. The positive user experiences we found assured us that this would be a great purchase, says Kari Koskimaa, General Manager of Salla Ski Resort.
As both the municipality of Salla and the executives of the company found the electric car a good idea, the new Nissan Leaf arrived in Salla in late 2018.
Starting is easy, even in sub-zero temperatures
So far, the company’s experiences of using an electric car have been nothing but positive, and the vehicle has turned out to be a wonderful mode of transportation, even in the winter conditions of Lapland. The customers are amazed at how quickly the car warms up, even if the need to rent it was very spontaneous. A petrol car would need to either be kept constantly warm or be quickly warmed up for the customer by idling, for example.
– An electric car can be preset to warm up using a web browser or a smartphone, but if the customer wants to leave right away, the car is ready to go and the windows defrosted in about five minutes, says Koskimaa. The ease of starting the vehicle even in winter conditions is definitely one of its major ad- vantages.
It cannot be denied that the electric car’s operating range is much shorter in the winter when compared to summer, but that is of little importance with the short
distances driven by the customers and employees of Salla Ski Resort.
– It’s the perfect vehicle for our needs and it completely fulfills the purpose for which it was bought, says Tuomo Tervo, head of the rental department at the resort.
Electric car sparks interest in the environment
Many of the Finnish tourists at the resort choose to try the electric car out of pure interest. According to Tervo’s estimate, only about 1–2% of the Finns who decide to rent the car have previous experience of electric vehicles, and even then they have usually been hybrids.
– The novelty factor of electric cars makes the customers usually really excited and impressed after trying out our vehicle. Even if the original purpose of renting the car was to do some shopping in town, the customers often talk as if they had just had a test drive with the electric car when they come back to return it, describes Tervo.
The electric car sparks interest among men and women, young and old people. Many people ask Tervo about the batteries and discuss the various ecological aspects of using an electric car. The vehicle even leads to a wider discussion on environmental issues.
According to Koskimaa, renting the electric car has to do with much more than simple shopping trips or transportation.
– We are setting an example and giving people the opportunity to try out an electric car. Some really start to think about how great it would be to own an electric car. This ‘test drive’ can inspire people to buy their own electric vehicle or start a different process related to environmental issues.