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9 December 2011

New charge for EV development in Finland

The launch of, Finnish innovation agency, Tekes’s ambitious new electric vehicle and charging infrastructure development program, EVE, supplied the Finnish EV industry with a significant boost. Tekes announced the launch of its new program which aims at creating an internationally connected network of Finland’s leading EV and charging equipment companies, experts and research institutes. The EVE –program will fund five testing and pilot projects in various cities around the country. The programs €100 million budget is comprised of €9.5 million of funding from the Ministry of Employment and the Economy in addition to €30 million of funding from Tekes and individual contributions from over 50 participants in the program’s various projects.

EVs on display outside the Kamppi shopping center

The program’s launch was marked by an event held at a nightclub, The Tiger, in downtown Helsinki’s Kamppi shopping center and was attended by a variety of companies and individuals eager to get in on the ground floor of Finland’s rapidly evolving EV industry. The gathered crowds were addressed by: Jyri Häkämies, the Minister of Economic Affairs; Hannu Penttilä, Helsinki’s Deputy Mayor; Veli-Pekka Saarnivaara, Tekes’s Director General; Martti Korkiakoski, Manager of the EVE –program, Jussi Palola, a member of the EVE –program’s management group; as well as Juha Matikainen, Fortum’s R&D Manager.

These statements shared a number of common messages and a unifying theme of urgency and social responsibility. Reflected in several of the speakers’ comments were: the need to establish a sound infrastructure to support EV adoption; speed-up mass-adoption by reducing the cost of these new technologies and working to improve public opinion through positive experiences of EVs and, above all, the need to establish efficient networks which encourage the participation of companies from a variety of fields.

Over the course of the next four years, the EVE –program will provide funding to five separate projects which aim to test the latest EV and charging related technologies in real-world conditions. Given Finland’s harsh climate, the experiences gathered through these test and pilot projects will contribute significantly to the future development of EV technologies the world over. Tekes also aims to provide a significant boost to the Finnish economy, endeavoring to increase the EV industry’s revenue from its present €200 million to €2 billion by 2020.

Lauri Karhuvaara interviews Tuula Antola (Director, Economic and Business Development at City of Espoo) and Ilpo Korhonen (President of Valmet Automotive)

The Eco Urban Living –initiative is among the five participating projects in the EVE –program and will focus on testing and researching technologies related to EV development and establishing the necessary infrastructure in an urban environment. The Eco Urban Living –initiative benefits from the participation of companies such as Valmet Automotive, an industry leader in EV technology expertise, and leading Finnish universities such as Aalto University, the Lappeenranta University of Technology and Hanken as well as Northern-Europe’s leading applied research institute VTT, the Technical Research Center of Finland.

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