In 2021, new charging stations will focus on growth centres, especially in the Helsinki metropolitan area, Tampere, Turku, Lahti and Jyväskylä. 17 of the new stations have been confirmed so far and negotiations are underway for additional stations, with timetables to be specified over the next few weeks. High Power Charging (HPC) stations are planned to open during the summer in Helsinki, Heinola, Jyväskylä and Kuusamo.
“K Group believes that the best way to develop charging networks is to track and respond to demand. Our investment plan for the year is based on wishes expressed by our customers. I am particularly happy to say that we can now respond to the popular request of bringing K Charge to Kuusamo this year. We will be disclosing locations for new stations closer to the opening dates,” says Tom von Bonsdorff, Vice President of Aftersales and K Charge at K Group’s car trade division.
The investments in 2021 will focus on HPC and fast charging points. There will also be new basic charging points, but fewer than in previous years. The investments will significantly increase the number of K Charge HPC stations: currently, the network includes three IONITY stations.
“Charging networks must adapt to the growing charging speed and battery size. We also want to bring HPC stations to store sites located near highways. K Charge has a crucial role in the electrification of vehicles in Finland: there is great interest towards electric cars, but for the cars to become more widely adopted, there needs to be an extensive charging network that offers sufficiently fast charging for both electric cars and rechargeable hybrids,” says von Bonsdorff.
Dramatic increase in fast charging
Growing the charging network is necessitated by both the rising popularity of electric cars as well as existing customer needs. Fast charging at K Charge stations grew by 30% in 2020. The most notable growth was seen in December, when charging was up by more than 40% year-on-year. In the first quarter of this year, there has been a massive surge in fast charging, with growth totalling 130% compared to the year before!
“The growth in charging numbers last year was organic, as we only opened two new stations. This year we expect notable growth thanks to a significant increase in charging points. Demand clearly exists as the number of electric vehicles on Finnish roads is growing fast. Many drivers have gotten used to charging their cars while shopping. The customer survey we conducted earlier this year showed that nearly 90% of the respondents charge their car in a store parking lot or garage while grocery shopping,” says Bonsdorff.