One day I decided to hop on the electric vehicle’s revolution and got myself a used Nissan Leaf. The price was decent, and so I thought it could be an excellent testing grounds for me to evaluate whether I’m ready to fully switch to electric vehicles. And Nissan has persuaded me to do so. Currently, I am a big supporter of electric mobility and I will try to introduce some basic grounds in my blogs. Today I will focus on the charging network within Finland.
The situation is far from perfect – only K-Lataus and Tesla provide great reliability, so you always need to plan your trip and considering falling back to another charger if need be. Also, there are lots of players with their own smartphone app or a tag, which you need to have installed in order to charge. Luckily, things are improving and several providers will now allow you to charge simply by paying with your credit card (Tesla of course, but namely K-Lataus and PlugIt and also maybe others). However, if you wish to go for a longer trip in Finland, I still recommend you to register+get the tag at least with the biggest charging network providers.
In this blog post I’ll map the biggest providers. However, generally I recommend to get tags/app from the following providers:
- K-Lataus: already big and getting bigger, nation-wide charging provider, recently teamed up with Ionity
- Ionity: EU-wide provider; only 3 online stations in Finland but hopefully that more will follow. However, as of 1. February of 2020, the price increased to a ridiculous price of 0,79€ per kWh, and so I advise you to ignore this charging network (and only perhaps get the Ionity account because of roaming with Latvia’s CSDD.
- Fortum Charge&Drive: Scandinavia-wide charging provider
- Virta: lots of chargers but also a roaming partner with lots of EU providers
- PlugIt: a few of parking lots use this vendor
When planning a long trip, it’s best to rely on providers with great reliability: provides which have at least 4 fast DC charging stations on spot. Even in the worst case if one is broken and two are used, you can still charge away.
I wouldn’t rely on the following networks on longer trips:
- IKEA: free charging is a very nice bonus when shopping, however don’t rely on these chargers when on a trip: the speed is only 3,3kW and often all four of the stations are used; because of the slow speed you would have to wait a hour before getting slowcharge.
- NewMotion (now Shell Recharge): a virtual roaming operator. They don’t have own chargers but they have a lot of roaming agreements, and they will take a small fee on top. However, usually the total charging fee is shown as “unknown” in the app, it’s a bit like buying a cat in the bag. Get a token, but use it only in case of great need.
- Possibly others; I’ll add them eventually.
Planning A Route
Simply use A Better Route Planner; then make sure to plan your route only for charging operator with “Great” reliability (only Tesla and K-Lataus at the moment; in a city there are usually multiple charging options from other vendors, so it’s possible to circle around the city a bit until you find a free charger).
You can find all chargers at PlugShare including info on charging cost and charger accessibility.
- Map: Official Map of chargers, Unofficial Map of chargers
- Payments: you don’t need any app/tag – the payments go directly to your Tesla account and to your credit card.
- Charging speed: 120kW DC
- Cost: 0,25€ per kWh: very good price
- Reliability: great (usually 4-12 DC chargers on site)
- Availability: decent, new chargers planned
Tesla has an immense advantage of having its own private network of superchargers. The superchargers usually work, and even if there is a broken station, there are 4 or even 8 stations in one place, therefore the charger network is very reliable. However, no other EV brands can not charge at Tesla chargers.
The unofficial map benefits from updates from people all around the world, and it is often more up-to-date than the official map (e.g. regarding the chargers being built).
The ease of use is phenomenal: the car will simply plan a route for you, with Supercharger visits as need be, you don’t have to plan much yourself.
Unfortunately there are no Superchargers in Estonia/Latvia/Lithuania yet (planned for 2020/2021).
- Payments: either with a tag or K-Lataus mobile app (which frequently logs me out and is quite annoying to use; I really recommend getting the tag)
- Charging speed: 50kW DC, 22kW AC
- Cost: 0,2€ DC 50kW DC charging, 0,02€ at 22kW AC charging (beware – your car might only charge at 11kW or less) – very good.
- Reliability: great (usually 4 AC chargers and 2 DC chargers on site)
- Availability: great (most chargers in southern Finland, but also has charger e.g. in Rovaniemi)
A new nation-wide provider, however it’s quite big and getting bigger. I recommend this network because of good price, reliability and availability.
K-Lataus has recently partnered with Ionity; it looks like the K-Lataus tag will now start charging on Ionity (plus you’ll get Plussa points), however this is not confirmed.
This operator is only in Finland – there are no K-Lataus chargers in Estonia/Latvia/Lithuania/Poland.
- Payments: with mobile app
- Charging speed: 350kW DC
- Cost: as of 1. February of 2020, the price increased to a ridiculous price of 0,79€ per kWh
- Reliability: great in EU, fair in Finland (2 DC chargers on site)
An EU-wide network of fast chargers. In Finland there are only three charging sites as of now, but new ones will be opened. Expensive as hell, I’ll avoid.
- Payments: the mobile app or tag
- Charging speed: variable, usually 11kW/22kW AC + 50kW DC; also provides roaming
- Cost: own 50kW DC 0,2€/min, own 22kW AC 0,2€/kW – very good.
- Reliability: fair (usually 1AC+1DC chargers on-site, varies)
- Availability: great (all over Finland)
Virta has a good roaming coverage throughout the EU, notably with the exception of Lithuania and Poland. Always check the roaming prices upfront.
Example of roaming prices in Latvia for a 50kW DC charger operated by LV/CSD:
- LV operator natively charges 0,15€/min on 50kW charger
- Virta charges 0,4€/min on 50kW charger, which means 24€ for ~50kWh (overpriced)
- Payments: the mobile app or tag
- Charging speed: usually 50kW DC + 11kW/22kW AC
- Cost: 0,2€/min for 50kW DC, 0,02€/min for 11kW AC or 0,04€/min for 22kW AC. The prices are very good except for the 22kW AC cost, which is so-so since your car will usually handle 11kW tops.
- Reliability: fair (usually 1DC+1AC on site), but sometimes 4AC on-site
- Availability: great (all over Finland)
Fortum Charge&Drive provides great coverage in Scandinavia; in Finland I’ve seen their chargers usually in shopping malls.
- Payments: tag/mobile app
- Charging speed: varies a lot
- Cost: whatever the operator charges, plus a fee on top of that. The fee can be quite significant – always check the price both on the PlugSurfing map and also on the Virta map and on PlugShare.
A virtual roaming operator: they don’t have own chargers but they have a lot of roaming agreements, and they will take a small fee on top. Sometimes the fee is significant, for example CSDD charging in Latvia costs 0,15€/min natively with the e-mobi app, but 0,273€/min with PlugSurfing (that’s still a decent price though).
I keep PlugSurfing as a “save my ass” option – if there is no other way to charge, I’ll simply use PlugSurfing. Just be wary of the prices.
Visiting EU by an electric car
If possible, prefer a route through Sweden. Sweden, Denmark and Germany has excellent coverage of IONITY+Tesla chargers (more than enough for planning a trip), additionally with Virta/PlugSurfing roaming.
The road through Estonia/Latvia/Lithuania/Poland is very good in terms of road quality, but there are no chargers with “great” reliability – usually, it’s just one stand with one AC plug and one DC plug. I will write about charging in Baltics in some of the following blogs.
Traveling with electric vehicle in Finland
The situation is far from perfect – only K-Lataus and Tesla provide great reliability, so you always need to plan your trip and considering falling back to another charger if need be. Ideally the car could navigate you through the chargers automatically, and all the chargers would have “great” availability. However, the situation is improving, so in 5 years things could look way different.
- Use any opportunity to charge to 90% at least (electric vehicles charge much slower above 85%, around 25kW DC)
- When taking a break, try to find the nearest charging station via PlugShare and take a break there.
Prices (I’ll write a separate blogpost regarding charging prices):
- Great: 6-14€ to fill your car 0%-100% assuming 50kWh car: 0,2€/min on 50kW DC charger, 0,02€/min on 11kW AC charger (however filling up will require 5 hours, so prefer DC during trips), or 0,25€/kWh.
- Good: 14-22€: 0,3€/min on 50kW DC charger; 0,29€/kWh on 11+kW AC
- Meh: 23-30€: 0,4€/min on 50kW DC charger, 0,49€/kWh