Fortum partners to develop electric vehicle technology


Esa Hyvärinen,
Vice President,
Public Affairs,
Fortum, Finland — (METERING.COM) — August 11, 2009 – Nordic energy provider Fortum and speciality car manufacturer Valmet Automotive have entered into a partnership to develop an electric concept car and the related recharging technology.

The goal is to introduce the fully electric concept car at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2010. The solutions developed will be utilized in widening the offering by Finnish companies in the fast-growing electric car market.

Mitigating climate change by promoting electric motoring is an important goal for both Fortum and Valmet Automotive, the two companies said in a statement. It is within this framework that the companies are now initiating collaboration to develop the technology related to electric vehicles.

A preliminary report on an electric concept car has already been compiled. In the next phase, the aim is to select other partners and to design and build the concept car – a 2+2-seat electric city car with a range of up to 100 miles per hour charge.

“Finland now has an opportunity to leap into the vanguard of development in electric car technology,” commented Esa Hyvärinen, Fortum’s vice president, public affairs. “It is important that initiatives to increase the technical know-how needed and to implement test projects are started without delay.”

Fortum is bringing to the project its know-how related to car recharging. There is already an abundant recharging infrastructure in Finland, thanks to the electric plug-in network for engine block heaters, but the wide-scale adoption of electric cars will require the recharging network to be developed.
Valmet Automotive’s development work is strongly focussed on new technologies and manufacturing processes for electric and hybrid vehicles. The development projects include new ecological solutions for power sources as well as lightweight body structures and materials.

“The idea is to create new solutions as a part of our service offering,” emphasized Ilpo Korhonen, president of Valmet Automotive. “By bringing together the experts in the sector, we can develop service packages for OEM customers, packages that range from electric vehicle design and manufacturing to recharging systems.”

A number of projects in which Fortum is involved are under way to advance the wide-scale adoption of electric cars in the Nordic countries. In 2008, Fortum launched a Nordic electric car project, which is introducing rechargeable cars and recharging posts to trafficscapes in Espoo, Finland, and Stockholm, Sweden. Fortum is also participating in the five-year TransEco program, which is pursuing solutions for traffic sector challenges related to energy and emissions. Within the program, Fortum is participating in the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Metropolia projects that are studying electric car performance in low temperatures and developing quick recharging solutions for electric cars.