Future of MaaS was held 12th April at the sunny office of Avanto Ventures Our host, Piia Maaranen CEO of Avanto Ventures, kicked things of by welcoming us to the event and introducing us to Avanto, corporate venturing company and also a start-up hub for smart and clean innovations.

In her opening words, Piia pointed out that Avanto is actually in ecosystem business – a theme that was repeated in all the presentations about the future of mobility as a service.

Piia Maaranen from Avanto Ventures

India’s ambitious vision of electric mobility by 2030

Evening was kicked off by Ulla Koivukoski, Head of Avanto Ventures India. From mobility point of view, India is an extreme case. With 1,2 billion people, and 40 million vehicles sold every year, India has taken a decision to have only electric cards by 2030. This is a massive task, and Avanto Ventures India with Ulla as the project lead, decided to help. A starting point was to start to understand the ecosystem, because as Ulla pointed out, this kind of massive change is not a technology driven project: ”You need to understand where the demand and the money is in this ecosystem to make this reality”.

Avanto Ventures conducted a research to help understand the potential, roadblocks and possible solutions for India’s electric mobility. The research took place between November 2017 and February 2018 and was supported by Ensto Oy, L7 Drive Oy and Tekes/Business Finland.

India’s scale is hard to understand: by 2030 there will be 500 milloin trips travelled per day; out of 20 world’s most polluted cities, 10 are in India; and 7% of India’s GDP is related to automobile industry.

Despite the ambitious and necessary political decision to turn India into electric car country, until now, there are no real action plans in place. The biggest challenges are the small amount and poor quality of the charging stations, cost of vehicles and missing or contradictory policies. However, there are also huge possibilities and potential, and in their report, Ulla points out ways to overcome the challenges with system thinking. It’s not about the technology, but about making the whole system from education to service quality into daily usage.

Ulla finished her presentation by giving us, the audience, a challenge. ”You are the future female. You can change the world. If you can sort of a small piece of a big problem, you’ve done your share.”.

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Ulla Koivukoski, Head of Avanto Ventures India

MaaS as a state of mind

Sonja Heikkilä, Program Director, Mobility Services from OP Financial Group, talked about the evolution of MaaS, mobility as a service. ”Car is a brilliant innovation, but it does not provide us the freedom that is used to”, she pointed out. ”Mobility as a service is not just a single service, but a way to think about mobility, and a way to bring the freedom of mobility to more people.”

Sonja presented OP’s thinking in the area of MaaS. OP Group has already developed mobility services that cater the needs of mobility from minutes to years; e.g. from DriveNow used typically minutes or hours, to OP Kausiauto for seasonal car need for a month or two and to OP Kulku, car leasing specialising in electric cars.

For MaaS to flourish, there needs to be enough people to utilise the services and digital solutions to access the mobility services. We’ve seen many new products lately in this area in Finland. Some, like Whim, provide access to range of mobility services from public transportation to taxis, while the others, like car sharing service DriveNow, operates and serves a certain need within the ecosystem.

Although MaaS is typically market driven, the change can be supported with political decisions. Finland aims to be the testbed of innovative mobility services and this is now reflected in our legislation. This can include some challenges, and bring growth pains, too, noted Sonja.

According to Sonja, the MaaS service providers and the services we have today are just a starting point. We are moving towards a mobility system that can adjust to your needs. MaaS is a state of mind that will evolve into sharing not just a ride every now and then, but the way we think about vehicle – or for that matter parking space – ownership.

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Sonja Heikkilä from OP

Clean, on demand and affordable mobility system

“Electric car is a car, which is tanked with electricity”, started Reetta Repo, Junior Analyst, from Fortum’s Startup and Fund Investments. Fortum is one of the largest operators of EV charging networks. EV’s can help us to make the world a cleaner place, said Reetta, with sun and wind as the unlimited and sustainable source of energy.

Electric car is by no means a new innovation: 1974 first e-cars were tested in Helsinki by Posti and Imatran Voima. That might not have been a commercial success, but we’ve seen the rise of e-cars lately: today, every second car sold in Norway, is an EV (electric vehicle).

The biggest problem in EV is according to Reetta is the complexity of charging. Currently there are several EV charching operators, and each has their own billing system, applications etc. To access the local, not to mention international, charging network, you would need to have multiple contracts with different service providers to access the charging stations. This in practice has prevented EV becoming a mass solution.

Reetta Repo from Fortum

In March Fortum joined forces with a company called Plugsurfing, who has developed a solution for this challenge. Instead of having to have contracts with every charging station operator, you have just one with Plugsurfing, and they will handle the billing and contracts with the ecosystem. “This is ground breaking in EV. You can now drive and charge on the go from Helsinki to Nice with just one charging app.”

With affordable and sustainable energy sources, easy to use EV charging network and MaaS ecosystem to provide range of services for consumers, we are one step closer to a cleaner mobility system.

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Writer Laura Laamanen works as Head of Growth Operations in OP New Business unit.