The beginning of March saw the launch of the Eco Urban Living initiative’s Think City test-drive contest, offering an exciting opportunity to see firsthand what the future of car culture holds in store. The aspiring test-drivers were asked to make their best arguments for why they should be given the chance to spend a week exploring the potential of EV technology. Entries streamed in over the course of the next month from everyone from electric vehicle and car enthusiasts, eager to try out the latest wave in automotive technology, to environmentally-minded young people, eager to do their part in reducing CO2 emissions.

One entry ultimately stood out from among these varied and persuasive hopefuls. The contest panel, following careful deliberation, ultimately selected the entry submitted by Hille Häkkinen & Timo Häkkänen of the SELL Student Games and announced the winner at the Kino Tapiola cinema on April 18th. The SELL Student Games’ strong ties to both a local and international student community bring an opportunity to help spread word of the test-drive week’s experiences to this crucial audience of future drivers. Furthermore, the contest panel also saw in the SELL Games’ an excellent opportunity to increase the environmental benefit of the test-drive week by providing the Games’ with an all-electric alternative means of transportation during the games.

On Friday, May 11th, we met with the Timo and Hille at Valmet’s offices in Otaniemi to officially hand the keys to the Think City over to the enthusiastic winners. After taking the Think City for a quick first spin around the building, Timo sat down with us to give some background about the SELL Student Games, how they will be using the car during the games, and a little about his own expectations.

The SELL Student Games are a multi-sport event open to students, and recently graduated alumni, from all over the world. The Games, first organized in 1923, are named after the first letters of the host countries’ names, in their native tongues: Finland (Suomi), Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania. The Games’ organizers have adopted sustainability as the major theme of this year’s games, the 28th Summer Games, and strive to ensure environmental sustainability in all aspects of the Games, including: transportation, food, and purchases, while also providing environmental education to staff and volunteers.

Timo told us that they first heard about the Eco Urban Living initiative, and the Think City test-drive contest, from a friend from the Aalto University’s cycling club, who suggested that the contest might be a great way for them to take yet another stride in increasing the games’ sustainability. By using the fully-electric Think City over the course of the games, as well as in the preceding days of organizing and pre-arrangement, to transport equipment and make the other countless journeys integral to keeping the even running smoothly, the SELL Games will significantly reduce the total emissions resulting from its activities.

Timo, as Event Coordinator, will be using the car to travel between the various event locations across Espoo and Helsinki, a purpose which would otherwise have been filled by a gas-fuelled car. Timo, who was already well acquainted with the basics of electric travel, is eager to get behind the wheel of an EV and see how it performs when faced with the logistical challenges of the non-stop travel which the coming week will certainly demand.

While Timo was well aware of the worries shared by many prospective electric vehicle buyers related to battery capacity and whether they would be left stranded on the side of the road, commonly known as “range-anxiety”, Timo was confident that his plans to charge the car overnight, and plug it in during longer lay-overs through the day, would be more than enough to cover the distances he will be traveling.

Make sure to follow Timo’s test-drive throughout this week here at! Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to make sure that you don’t miss Timo’s updates from the road!

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