Five from Finland
Electric vehicle solutions
It’s electric! Finnish innovation in clean energy is on the move.Julia Bushueva
These Finnish companies are going places with their electric approach to getting from point A to point B.
With its ambitious goal of halving emissions from transport by 2030 compared to the 2005 levels and achieving carbon-neutral transport by 2045, Finland currently has one of Europe’s highest shares of registered electric vehicles and is home to many companies at the vanguard of autonomous and electric mobility.
Here are five of many examples of Finland investing heavily in electric vehicle technologies.
Verge Motorcycles is well on track to become a globally recognised electric motorcycle manufacturer that stands out from the rest. The Seinäjoki-based startup has developed Verge TS, a striking motorcycle with an industry-first electric motor hidden inside the rim of the hubless rear wheel.
“This is definitely something that hasn’t been done before,” noted CEO Tuomo Lehtimäki. “All the other electric motorcycles imitate the traditional century-old motorcycle design that’s built for a combustion engine. We started from scratch and moved the motor, where the electricity is consumed, to the back wheel.”
Thanks to the unique combination of its futuristic looks and great functionality, Verge TS received the 2021 Red Dot Design Award. With production set to ramp up in 2022 following the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus pandemic, customers around the globe are champing at the bit to get their hands on this groundbreaking bike.
“Urbanisation has created an imperative need for green technology,” Lehtimäki observed. “It’s fulfilling to work on our solution and, at the same time, know that we’re doing something for the greater good.”
Headquartered in Helsinki and listed by Financial Times among the fastest growing companies in Europe, Virta has built an electric vehicle charging platform covering over 30 countries trusted by over 1 000 business-to-business clients. Virta’s goal of accelerating the global transition to sustainable mobility by empowering large enterprises to run electric vehicle charging businesses, eventually serving millions of new electric vehicle drivers in their everyday life, has resonated well with investors.
In April last year, Virta closed a 30 million-euro funding round, one of 2021’s largest for Finnish companies, intending to spend the money to support its international growth. Earlier this year, Virta announced the opening of an office in Singapore to help Southeast Asian and Australian companies with their entry into the electric vehicle charging markets, as well as striking a partnership with Kempower to boost the availability of fast-charging services to electric vehicle owners across Europe.
Thanks to its groundswell of progress, Virta has recently been granted with the Soonicorn (soon-to-be unicorn) status by Tracxn, joining a league of promising tech start-ups that have reached significant valuation milestones in recent years.
“The Virta platform is already today used to operate more than a quarter-billion worth of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and the segment is in hypergrowth, so this nomination makes sense,” commented co-founder and CEO Jussi Palola.
Established in 2015, Skand found its niche in manufacturing light electric vehicles targeted at both the elderly looking for means to move independently and younger urban dwellers opting for environmentally friendly ways of getting from one place to another. Its product range includes electric mobility scooters, cabin scooters and mopeds that are comfortable to drive, as well as affordable to operate and maintain.
“With Skand’s plug-in products, you can move around in big cities and the countryside silently and in an eco-friendly way,” said CEO Miika Utoslahti. “We strongly believe that electric vehicles capable of being driven year-round are a key solution for big cities with traffic and congestion issues. For more sparsely inhabited areas, having the means of moving freely when you want is also vital.”
With interest in green transport modes steadily growing, Skand in 2021 raised 845 000 euros on Invesdor and received a loan worth one million euros to support its expansion in Denmark, Norway and Germany. Executing its strategy, Skand opened an office in Frankfurt earlier this year.
Since its foundation in 2004, Vantaa-based Oceanvolt has grown into a leading manufacturer of electric power and propulsion systems for boats. Compared to traditional combustion engines, its electric counterparts offer a wide range of benefits, being reliable, quiet and not causing climate-harmful CO2 emissions.
“We can clearly see that demand is constantly growing,” said CEO Tommi Lassila. “The development is accelerated by environmental regulations and general awareness of environmental issues.”
Today, Oceanvolt’s state-of-the-art technology can be seen on hundreds of boats around the world, ranging from day sailers to large luxury catamarans. The technology has also been put to test in the extreme conditions of open-ocean racing, including the most demanding non-stop solo race around the world, Vendée Globe.
Oceanvolt’s founder, Janne Kjellman, is also a father of Q-Yachts, a company seeking to revolutionise the boating market with its fully electric day cruiser.
Founded in 2018 out of a desire to make the world a more sustainable place by making a difference in charging infrastructure, this Helsinki-based company has come up with an innovative charging solution for residential buildings. Its charging stations combine type-2 charging technology with a power output of 3.7 kilowatts and offer features such as billing, metering and load balancing.
A part of Urban Tech Helsinki, an incubator for clean and sustainable urban solutions for smart cities, Greenele is currently running a few pilots in the Finnish capital and is planning to install 100 electric vehicle charging points by the end of the year using its new technology.
“All new cars sold in Europe will be electric vehicles by 2035, which means great new opportunities for new emergent markets,” CEO Lavan Khoshnawpointed out during his pitch at the final show of Kiuas Accelerator last year. “We want to be the Tesla of charging.”