Electric car rental startup GreenMobility keeps growing in Helsinki

Danish startup GreenMobility is the first and only electric car sharing service in Helsinki. The company began operating in the Finnish capital at the end of 2020 with a fleet of 25 cars. It’s popularity among Helsinki residents has been so strong that GreenMobility is now running 150 such cars – with plans to add even more cars in the future.

GreenMobility
Challenge

Helsinki has ambitious carbon-reduction targets and its citizens need innovative ways to reduce their mobility footprints.

Solution

Danish startup GreenMobility arrived in Helsinki at the end of 2020 with Finland’s first electric car rental service. Helsinki Partners helped the company to get established with the right contacts, permits and more.

Result

Helsinki residents have fully embraced the service. GreenMobility launched in the city with 25 cars – now the company is running 150 cars and has plans to add even more.

Founded in Copenhagen in 2016, GreenMobility is one of Europe’s only vehicle-sharing services investing entirely in electric cars.

Users simply download the GreenMobility app and book the car they want. Once within range of the car, it can be unlocked through the app and the user is good to go. The fee is all inclusive, so customers need not worry about parking fees, insurance or other expenses. The service is now available in 11 European cities, including Helsinki since December 2020.

Today, GreenMobility employs six people in the Finnish capital and runs a fleet of 150 cars. The company’s original growth ambitions for Helsinki had been stronger, but plans were temporarily shelved when Covid-19 restrictions put the brakes on people’s mobility and then the semiconductor shortage hit the world. The trajectory is on the up again now though.

Our cars are always on the move and demand is constantly increasing. We have a very wide range of users – young and old, families, single people, and also businesspeople. Even if you own a car, our service can make sense in some circumstances.

Tomas Basili – City Manager for Helsinki, GreenMobility

Our growth has been somewhat constrained by the global semiconductor supply-chain issue. The more electric and technical a car is, the more microchips it needs. The result is that if you want to buy a new car, these days you need to order it at least a year in advance. Another factor is that when we came to Helsinki, the sharing economy wasn’t so developed here. But now people have started to adapt more to sharing, especially in the area of mobility. Just look at all the electric scooters on the streets!

Tomas Basili – City Manager for Helsinki, GreenMobility

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Hand-in-hand with Helsinki Partners

Launching a service like GreenMobility’s in a new city requires a lot of setting up, so a knowledgeable and well-connected partner is a huge asset. Helsinki Partners was key in providing market insights, and introducing the company to the right people for support with financing, recruitment and more.

It’s difficult to come from a foreign country to start a business – you need support from local people. Helsinki Partners has been a huge help, introducing us to the right contacts in the city to get our service up and running. They’re doing the right thing in providing this kind of service to foreign companies trying to establish here.

Tomas Basili – City Manager for Helsinki, GreenMobility

GreenMobility is one of a growing number of transport service providers for Helsinki residents. The company sees itself as a complementary service to the city’s public transportation infrastructure – not in competition with it. The fact that it’s a green service makes it all the more appealing to the city authorities and residents.

Helsinki has big goals to be carbon neutral and is investing a lot in sustainable mobility options. This makes our dialogue with the city much easier. Now everybody wants to go green. Everything is going in that direction, with services like ours helping to reach set goals.

Tomas Basili – City Manager for Helsinki, GreenMobility

Helsinki aspires to be carbon neutral by 2030. Finland is the first country in the world to create a roadmap for the circular economy, and now the capital city has drafted its own roadmap for the circular and sharing economy. The roadmap details its actions for the years 2020–2025, focusing on procurements, the sharing economy, construction and green waste.

Growing a startup in Helsinki

Faced with the double challenge of pandemic restrictions and then the global semiconductor shortage, GreenMobility has been taking a slow and steady approach to establishing the service in Helsinki. The company has been taking the time to learn about the market and get everything in place for its users. This includes a deal with Finland’s national rail operator VR that provides GreenMobility’s service at a discount for train passengers looking to complete their journeys.

We have kept the marketing budget fairly small, but now that the operation is going where it should we can expect that things will change. We are anticipating that Helsinki is going to be a profitable and growing market. It always takes time to get established, but we are on the right track and doing the right things. The more cars we have, the more active users we’ll have and the more word of mouth we’ll get. Collaborations like the one with VR also give people more mobility options and help to grow the service.

Tomas Basili – City Manager for Helsinki, GreenMobility
GreenMobility
© Juhana Hurtig

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