The entire way we move around the city is changing. It is only this fall, when the Finnish Easymile EZ-10 electric mini-buses appeared on the Guardian, CNN and other international media. And this is only the beginning. Soon cars will be connected to the Internet, driving data about weather conditions and traffic from space navigation satellites and synched with our mobile phones and wearable devices.
Compared to other European capitals like Paris and Madrid, the amount of cars in Helsinki is obviously not that high. Yet we have difficulties finding a parking slot in Helsinki downtown or optimizing public transport routes during the rush hours. Plus, Finnish geography puts some other problems on the table. For example, there are people living in far reaching areas, for whom services like car sharing could be a relief.
OP Group is on a mission to improve and innovate mobility services in Finland
Finnish bank OP Group is on a mission to improve and innovate mobility services in Finland. In November 2016 they launched a service called Kulku – electric car rental based on a monthly fee. Kulku offers a wide selection of electric cars, such as Finland’s most popular models by Tesla, Nissan, Renault, BMW and Hyundai. Electric cars are becoming a trend in Finland, since the government announced it will consider 100 million euros in subsidies for electric and biogas cars in 2017-2020.
“The Kulku service is our first step in terms of mobility services. We want to be an active developer of mobility of the future.” – says Director Harri Nummela, in charge of digitalisation and customer experience at OP Financial Group.
To achieve this goal OP is launching a kick-off 5-day long Innovation Challenge, and welcomes startups with an innovative technology, product or service to create the Driving Experience 2.0. The Challenge is a part of larger 3-months Smart Mobility Startup Partnership Program, aimed at revolutionizing mobility service in Finland. The program offers mentorship, business development support, and grants up to 100k euros. Plus startups get to test their solutions on real Kulku customers and Tesla cars. You can apply for the kick off OP Innovation Challenge here. Application deadline is January 31.