Helsinki investigates heavy vehicle fleet conversion
The Finnish capital Helsinki plans to convert existing heavy-duty vehicles to electric drives as part of the Stara eRetrofit project. The conversion of the first truck, an old Scania P320, has already begun. Test drives are planned in the coming months.
The main objective of the project is to obtain meaningful data on operating costs, service requirements and the feasibility of truck electrification. To this end, the conversion of said Scania P320, a truck owned by the City of Helsinki, has begun. In the “first few months” of the year, the heavy-duty truck, which will then be converted to e-drive, is expected to be back in service. “If the electrification of this single truck justifies the conversion costs and meets the functionality expectations, then we can use the results on a larger scale for the entire fleet,” Paavo Lehmonen, development manager at Helsinki City Construction Services, looks ahead. In other words, potentially the city is ready to convert its entire truck fleet to electric mobility.
For the Stara eRetrofit project, the city’s innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki and the Stara construction company, also a city-owned company, are working together with the University of Applied Sciences in Tampere and the VTT Technical Research Center of Finland. The project is financed by the City of Helsinki’s Innovation Fund. The rationale behind Stara eRetrofit is that the electrification of heavy-duty vehicles is progressing slowly, especially in view of their long operating cycles. In addition, the availability of new electric vehicles on the market is still very limited and expensive.