The car industry in Finland is small. Valmet Automotive is the sole passenger car manufacturer in the country. It has historically acted as a contract manufacturer, but during the past few years it has raised its profile by purchasing the cabriolet (soft-top convertible) business operations of Karman and a small part of the electric car company Th!nk, which is under the new ownership of Mr. Boris G. Zingarevich for a possible relaunch in 2012. Valmet currently manufactures the plug-in vehicles Fisker Karma and a BEV golf-car Garia.
Non-road mobile machinery industry
Image courtesy of European Batteries.
In contrast to the relatively small car industry, the manufacturing of non-road mobile machinery (NRMM) is a large and important business in Finland. Non-road mobile machinery includes machines targeted for specific tasks in off-road conditions that mainly move on wheels or tracks. Traditionally, NRMMs are categorized by the application area in the following categories:
Construction machines or earth-moving machines, including all types of loaders, dumpers, excavators, land rollers, bulldozers
Goods transport or material handling equipment, including forklifts, automated guided vehicles (AGVs), mobile cranes, rubber-tired gantry (RTG) cranes for stacking shipping containers, and straddle carriers
Municipal or janitorial machines, including different types of gardening and cleaning machines that are often targeted for on-road operations
Agricultural and forestry machines such as tractors.
NRMMs are mainly powered by diesel engines with high fuel consumption and emissions. Manufacturers are actively developing electric and hybrid electric solutions in order to decrease NRMM fuel consumption and emissions.
Electric drive industry
Finland has a large electric drive industry with the leading companies of ABB and Vacon. Neither has products for mobile applications, except for rail vehicles. However, both companies are intensively following the development in mobile applications, especially in the area of NRMMs.
European Batteries is ramping up the biggest lithium-ion battery (for automotive use) factory in the EU. European Batteries develops and manufactures large, rechargeable lithium-ion-based prismatic cells and battery systems.
The new production facility in Varkaus, Finland began operations in the spring of 2010. Focusing on the latest lithium-ion technology, the plant aims to reach an annual production capacity of 300 MWh by the year 2012.
It should also be noted here that Keliber Oy, located in Finland, has one of Europe’s largest deposits of lithium spodumene mineral, from which the lithium for batteries can be extracted. Keliber has concessions and permits to start mining operations and plans to be the first producer of lithium carbonate in Europe.
Additionally there are small companies focused on mobile machinery applications. MSc Electronics has a product range of power electronics and energy storage converters. Visedo sells power electronics, motors, and generators. Hybria offers power management software and engineering services for electric power trains.