In 2013, 17 Finnish electricity companies established Liikennevirta Oy, an operator of a nationwide network of charging stations for electric cars. Due to the network's open operating concept, it is simple for different actors to join and incorporate their own services. This consortium and concept are unique worldwide, which has ensured that Liikennevirta's concept is an interesting product.
The Virtapiste network is open, meaning that essentially any organisation from a private housing organisation, to a car dealership or a drive-in restaurant can become a charging station owner. In addition to being open to actors, communal use is also an important principle of the network. The user experience of electric car owners is just as seamless regardless of which Virtapiste charging station they visit. A good point of comparison is Finland's ATM network. An electric car can be charged at a Virtapiste station with a smartphone, text message, bank card or RFID key fob. The charging service is paid for either by bank card or credit card in accordance with normal online shopping practices.
In spring 2014, Liikennevirta sold its charging network operator model to Switzerland. In Switzerland, the service was launched under the name Swisscharge, and a handful of pilot charging stations have been in use for a few months.
Tekes' EVE – Electric Vehicle Systems programme has been of fundamental importance in the development of Liikennevirta's charging station operator model.
"Many aspects of our development work have been successful, and we have been able to proceed at a quick pace. The EVE programme has helped us recruit a broad group of actors," Liikennevirta's Managing Director Jussi Palola explains.
tel. +358 50 434 0132
jussi.palola (at) virta.fi