E for electro. E for engineering. E for Eva. When it comes to e-mobility, engineering cannot be avoided – and neither can Eva Håkansson. The mechanical engineering graduate puts everything into driving electromobility forwards. For reasons of sustainability.
This is her first time in Berlin. She has five hours for sightseeing beneath the blue sky of the capital. But Eva Håkansson literally skates around the Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column and rides towards Spandau instead. The Swede has chosen to go sightseeing in the BMW Motorrad plant, with a particular focus on the assembly line of the BMW C evolution electro-maxi scooter. This is probably not something you would see every day. But Eva Håkansson has never attempted to fit in with the mainstream. Instead, she tends to be the fish that swims against the tide.
At 27 years old, she presented her homemade e-motorcycle in the Swedish parliament. Later, she set the record as the fastest female motorcyclist in the world with her electro-streamliner, which has still not been broken today. Soon, the engineering graduate will have her pilot's license. Not so much in order to fly, but rather to further develop electromobility in air transport. And so she does what she always does in Berlin: continually expand her unparalleled knowledge of e-mobility; and carry out educational work in podium discussions on the mobility of the future.
Mobility of yesterday
"Sightseeing" in the BMW Motorrad plant in Berlin.
No, electric vehicles aren't really new. They were there before the first combustion engine stumbled over the gravel paths back then. Trouvé presented the first officially acknowledged electric vehicle in 1881 at the Exposition d'Électricité in Paris. It travelled 12 kilometres per hour and had a range of 14 to 26 kilometres. While in the USA around 1900, most transportation was electric, the invention of the electric starter motor and the increase in global oil production soon brought the combustion engine to the surface. Ten years later, the electric car largely disappeared from the roads – and would only return to people's awareness in connection with air pollution, sustainability and climate change.
Sitting test on the BMW C evolution.
However, Eva Håkansson was involved with the topic much sooner than the average. To be precise, since her birth in 1981. Her father developed electric scooters in the seventies, which was later followed by energy-efficient e-racing motorcycles and the world's first electric trial motorcycle. Eva grew up surrounded by electric vehicles. When her oldest brother won an award for young talent at the age of 16 with a homemade hybrid car, Eva's ambition was awakened. She invested her time in scientific projects and won several prizes. At the age of 19, she represented Sweden at the Science and Engineering Fair in Detroit and later won the Science Symposium in London. Countless awards followed, most recently the Signs Award, where Eva was honoured by Prince Leopold of Bavaria in the "Passion for communication" category.
Acceleration and thrill
You can never know enough: Eva inspires the BMW C evolution on the production line.
The former racer was amazed by Eva's passionate dedication, but above all the speed she managed to get out of an electric vehicle. Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah. With her homemade electric streamliner, Eva Håkansson went up against other crazy speed-seekers on the salt lake and set the record in 2014. Since then, she has been considered the fastest female motorcyclist in the world. This is not just a case of seeking the thrill that speed brings with it, but much more the thrill she gets out of the engineering performance. She built her vehicle herself, investing countless hours, litres of blood, sweat and tears. She developed and designed it using her entire knowledge. "I have the need to try things out that no one has done before. It is incredibly satisfying to challenge the boundaries of technology and my own abilities".
"Those who like acceleration will love electric vehicles", Eva Håkansson says.
When Eva is at the limits of technology and sets records, she gets noticed – and this is what it's all about for her. The plan is to use the attention to fight for – you can definitely call it this – her life's work. "I want to show that electric vehicles can be fast and sexy. The decision to buy is driven by emotions. Electro must therefore become a status symbol and at the same time appear intelligent – then people will buy it. If we want to continue to live on this planet, we need to take action. The trend for me is clearly towards autonomous driving. And nothing works better here than electric vehicles, because they are easy to control".
Here to stay
Eva is known for her passionate speeches on the topic of e-mobility.
After the highs and lows the electric vehicle has been through over the past decade, the development of the lithium battery for the mobile phone provided the decisive impulse for the breakthrough of e-mobility. The discussion about wholly new environmentally-relevant questions has become simple; it's about disposing of the batteries or where the power for the vehicles comes from. Nevertheless, Eva is certain: "Electromobility is here to stay". She had already arrived at this conclusion in 2005 while writing her Bachelor thesis on environmental science, which she followed with a Masters and a doctoral thesis in mechanical engineering.
"E-mobility is not the future but the present and it is here to stay", says Eva Håkansson.
"Electric vehicles are unbeatable in terms of technology: they are phenomenally efficient, quiet, emission-free and are not dependent on any one energy source. It doesn't matter for the vehicle, and in turn the consumer, whether the electricity is generated from solar energy or hydropower. So it's not affected by change". This is why she gives talks in podium discussions, in front of expert audiences and non-experts. The development is moving forward at full speed, and Eva is right in the thick of it. She believes the most important time in the evolution of electromobility is imminent – and she wants to be a part of it. "We only have this planet. It is a deep moral conviction that we are doing the right thing here".