De­mo­li­tion Man: scien­ce fic­tion or rea­li­ty?

A country is led by a TV entertainment star as the president, people drive electric cars and hold in their hand’s mini computers operating on voice commands, personal identification takes place by the iris of the eye on the flat-panel display screens, pointing devices and rat meat burgers.

I like science fiction movies because they take your thoughts to a different time and place, where everything is in principle possible. The things listed above come to my mind when I think back about a movie that impressed me when I was young. The events of that movie that was completed in 1993 took place in the year 2032. For the boy who at that time was 11 years old, it was very easy to believe that in the distant future everything is possible. Although I thought the people shown in the film would be very unlikely ever to function as the president, I considered it an even more distant thought to have electric cars moving around which on top of everything else are able to drive themselves. Well, real life is stranger than movies.

Now, only 24 years later around us have materialized -just like the science fiction movies have predicted – so many things that once we were watching on the big screens with wide eyes. Everything just happens at a faster pace. So, you would think that I am also happy with this development. Occasionally, however, I notice in myself restlessness or perhaps speed blindness, as I still notice in my vision area a bit of reality. Real-life realities brought me back to the ground. Why aren’t the repeated battery technology breakthroughs in practice, why does an electric car costs so much, why cannot I take advantage of the car battery capacity for other than driving, why are there not enough charging points, why is there not a single standard for charging terminals, and why development suddenly seems so slow.

If I could write a science fiction movie, it would be the year 2030, and I would be driving one of the 250,000 Finnish electric cars. The range of the car should be a realistic 400 km in summers and winters, which would be supported by a comprehensive and reliable fast charge point network formed by independent commercial entities. I would control my car charging time with a mobile application, taking advantage of lower hourly prices. On the rooftop of my home would surely be solar panels that would complement charging from the electric network. Irrespective of the charging spot of the car, I would, for example, hand over for a lower charging price a certain portion of the battery capacity to be used by the help of an advanced intelligent network, so that emission-free energy production and the electricity network would remain in balance with each other. For this purpose, I would have chosen a service provider suitable for me out of the many available. To lighten the consumption load from the power grid, and to achieve economic benefits, my battery capacity would also be in use in my home supported by an advanced building automation system.

At this age I would seek a certain realism in the movie, so the most credible environment for the realization of the picture of the future that I would draw would, of course, be in Finland. We all have the conditions to create a totally new kind of conclusion to utilize electric vehicles as reservoirs of energy. We are part of the world’s most advanced power market; we have the world’s most modern power grid, as well as the world’s leading software and hardware expertise supporting smart power grids. The genre of the movie would, of course, be a Scandinavian crime series.

But the vision would not pass as a science fiction movie, as most of the required technology is already very much in place. In addition, it seems inevitable that consumers will in earnest, soon after the business community, be invited to be part of the solution when searching for answers to the challenges presented by the energy revolution.