In pursuit of the overarching goals of the Eco Urban Living initiative a formalized four year project was initiated during spring 2011. The project aims to test, investigate and demonstrate the characteristics, functionality and economic conditions of an eco-friendly urban society, emphasizing the need for changes in the urban transportation system.  The project is structured around the following three objectives:

  • Jointly establish a demonstration platform for the development, testing and commercialization of electric vehicles and related technologies.
  • Build the ecosystem capabilities necessary to enable the rapid international utilization of the demonstration results from Finland.
  • Strengthen international networking with leading cities and universities that may support the commercialization of the demonstration results.

These three objectives provide the demonstration activities with a distinct, well-established set of goals which are then divided among the project’s six research streams.

The first of these objectives, the practical formation of the necessary demonstration platform, includes a variety of activities conducted in collaboration among various participating organizations.  These activities include: acquiring the electric vehicles to be used in the vehicle test fleet, fitting these vehicles with charging equipment and the technology necessary to monitor their usage.  Once demonstration activities are underway the usage data will be distributed to the project’s various research partners for analysis and application in their own research and development programs.  This phase of the demonstration will ensure that the data gathered from the test fleet will be actively integrated into the commercial products introduced by the participating companies, thereby accelerating the spread of electric vehicles.

The second objective, building the ecosystem capabilities necessary to enable the rapid international utilization of these results, is one which relies heavily on the capabilities of participating organizations, networks and support structures.  The development of a resilient ecosystem requires a number of actions: a strong communicative network, familiarizing the public with the technology, establishing the wide-range legitimacy of the technology and the eager participation of experts at an early stage of the project to secure public trust.  These actions are ones which must be undertaken throughout the duration of the project and will require the active contribution of each participating organization. Each organization has its own role in building the ecosystem, to establish the commercial legitimacy and reliability of the introduced solutions. Research institutes and universities will help to raise these solutions to stellar levels. The City of Espoo assists in institutionalizing the results by integrating the technologies into its public infrastructure.

To achieve the Eco Urban Living project’s ambitious goals of facilitating the global adoption of low-carbon transportation solutions, it is of utmost necessity to develop a network which is capable of spreading the findings and developments worldwide.  The Eco Urban Living initiative has developed this network by benefiting from the existing international relationships which participating organizations bring to the project. Additionally, this network will be expanded and further solidified throughout the demonstration project by communicating with international universities and research institutes and benefiting from their expertise and experience in the development of technological solutions.