Touring the Bothnian coast by electric car

Katarina and her family took a driving holiday in their electric car around the Bothnian Sea in northern Sweden and Finland: “We made it all the way round and we even got a call from the Finnish energy authority, who wanted to know how our trip had gone. They promised more charging stations would be built in Finland in 2015.”

How long have you worked at ÅF and what’s your job?

I started at ÅF in September 2014, although I had previously worked at ÅF about 10 years ago. I work in data security, and in recent years I’ve specialised in security relating to payment card numbers and the PCI DSS standard.

What was important to you when choosing an employer?

There were a lot of factors to consider. I wanted to join a large company that has the ability to and interest in innovating in my field. That was the most important thing for me. But I’m also aware that there are a lot of talented people at ÅF and I’m looking forward to working with some of those colleagues.

 

What do you like most about working at ÅF?

The fact that ÅF takes initiatives wherever it sees opportunities. I’m involved in the company’s increased activity in the area of assured security. I’ve also been involved in ensuring that ÅF achieved PCI QSA accreditation, which means it can perform assessments of companies that handle payment cards. This generates business and a new customer base in the area of security.

 

Tell us about your trip around the Bothnian Sea. How did you get the idea and how did the trip go?

My mum’s family is from Rovaniemi in northern Finland, which is about 1,200 km from our home in Uppsala, Sweden. The plan was to pick up our younger kids from their stay in Rovaniemi and drop off our eldest there for a week’s holiday. We thought it would be interesting to see what it would be like to drive there in our electric car, up the Swedish coast then down the Finnish coast, taking in Moomin World in Naantali en route home.

According to its specifications, our car can travel 350–400 km on a single charge. On the way there we charged it four times. In Finland it was a bit harder to access charging stations. We stayed at a hotel in Kemi, and stopped over in Jyvääskylä and then in Naantali in southern Finland. In Naantali, the charging station had just been built but it wasn’t working. We were rather concerned, as it was in the middle of the night and there was a thunderstorm! But fortunately the energy company let us charge our car in their garage the following day while we were visiting Moomin World with the children. They even gave us a lift there and back!

The whole trip was actually really nice, despite the distance. We got to visit towns that we wouldn’t have otherwise seen and we made sure the kids got lots of opportunities to get out of the car and stretch their legs. It was actually less stressful than just doing the journey more directly! We even got a call from someone at the Finnish government’s energy authority asking how our trip had gone. They promised more charging stations would be built in Finland in 2015, so it should also become easier to use electric cars in Finland.

 

How does it work, in purely practical terms? Are there enough charging stations?

There are lots of charging stations in southern Sweden. When we were driving last summer there weren’t many quick-charging points, especially further north. But now there are a lot more rapid-charge sites. The quick-charging stations in Gävle meant we were able to take the electric car to Sälen in central Sweden for a skiing holiday over Christmas and New Year. It worked really well, although obviously the car does use more energy when the temperature is -20 degrees.

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