Application Fields 08/11 2009 07:34
Fortum and Valmet Automotive have agreed on collaboration to develop an electric concept car and the related recharging technology. The goal is to introduce a 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 on the fast-growing electric car market.
The electrification of road traffic can significantly reduce traffic emissions and thus curb climate change. Electricity is an excellent alternative, in terms of emissions, energy efficiency and energy supply.
Mitigating climate change by promoting electric motoring is an important goal both for the energy company Fortum as well as for Valmet Automotive, which is a service provider for the car industry and part of the Metso Group. It is within this framework that the companies are now initiating collaboration to develop the technology related to electric vehicles.
A preliminary report about 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 160 km per one charge.
"Valmet Automotive is not introducing its own electric car brand; instead, the idea is to create new solutions as a part of our service offering," emphasizes Ilpo Korhonen, President, 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."
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.
"We think the report published today by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy's electric car committee about electric vehicles in Finland is very positive. Finland now has an opportunity to leap into the vanguard of development in electric car technology. It is important that the initiatives presented in the report to increase the technical know-how needed and to implement test projects are started without delay. Additionally, the adoption of electric cars should be encouraged by developing the car and vehicle taxation. In the initial phase, subsidizing the purchase of electric cars could be justified," notes Esa Hyvärinen, Vice President, Public Affairs, Fortum.
Fortum is advancing the wide-scale adoption of electric cars through its participation in the development of electric motoring also in other projects. 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.
This year, Valmet Automotive will start the manufacturing of two electric vehicles in Uusikaupunki, Finland. The first electric Garia golf cars have already been delivered to the Danish Garia A/S, and the first plug-in Fisker Karma hybrid cars recharged from the grid will be delivered to the American Fisker Automotive towards the end of the year. In addition, Valmet Automotive currently manufactures Porsche Boxster and Porsche Cayman sports cars for Porsche AG.
Valmet Automotive's development work is strongly concentrating on new technologies and manufacturing processes for electric and hybrid vehicles. The development projects include new ecological solutions for power sources as well as light-weight body structures and materials. Product engineering teams are combining light-weight and safe body structures with new electric systems for the cars. At the same time, new digital PDM (product data management) solutions are being developed to manage the engineering and manufacturing processes.