The first electric truck conversion factory in Finland was established in Keuruu. This factory, belonging to Lielahden Autokeskus Oy, converts diesel trucks into electric trucks.
The factory is creating new jobs and reducing climate emissions generated by heavy transport vehicles. The creation of the factory was sped up by the EU-funded projects mySMARTLife and eRetrofit, in which cities, companies and universities worked together to develop new low-emission innovations.
The participants in the development of an electric truck in the mySMARTLife project included Forum Virium Helsinki, Stara, VTT, the delivery company Niinivirta and Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK), among others. The project helped TAMK create a charging solution based on open source code for electric trucks.
Valuable assistance in the development was also received from the Niinivirta Group, which introduced the first electric delivery truck in the Nordic countries in 2015.
Electric trucks are suitable for cities
Studies also showed that the vanguard of contractors and transport operators are prepared to buy low-emission heavy transport vehicles if such vehicles and maintenance services are available on the market. eRetrofit project joined the efforts to resolve this challenge and set out to develop the commercialisation of electric trucks.
The electric truck conversion factory to be opened in Keuruu is now planning to convert up to 200 trucks into electric trucks by 2024.
“We are giving diesel trucks that are a couple of years old a new electric life,” says Managing Director of Lielahden Autokeskus Oy Mikko Leppälahti in the company’s bulletin.
Even present electric trucks are well-suited for distribution traffic in urban regions. Delivery trucks are often driven for under 200 kilometres a day, and their batteries can be fully charged overnight. Electric trucks offer many benefits from the perspective of the comfort of cities: carbon dioxide emissions decrease radically, fine particle emissions are eliminated and the noise level is reduced considerably.
The innovation project was a great success
The collaboration of cities, companies and universities in the mySMARTLife and eRetrofit projects refined the innovation into functional business that will create jobs and reduce climate emissions.
“This is an excellent example of the effectiveness of the innovation funding of the European Union and cities,” says Program Director of Data and IoT at Forum Virium Helsinki Timo Ruohomäki.
Stara expects electric heavy transport to take a major leap forwards if it can be proved that simpler technology lengthens service life. For this purpose, data and diligent piloting are needed.