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Valmet Automotive to make solar-powered vehicles in Uusikaupunki

Valmet Automotive has already been manufacturing electric cars for more than a decade, but solar energy is a first for the company.

Miehiä Lightyear-yhtiön sähköauton ympärillä
Pictured from left to right are project manager Ville Rantala (Valmet Automotive), chief operating officer Hans Heijmans (Lightyear), procurement director Gerard Berkelmans (Lightyear), sales director Matti Räsänen (Valmet Automotive) and deputy general manager Wim van Stratum (Lightyear). Photo: Valmet Automotive Image: Valmet Automotive

Finnish automation systems giant, Valmet Automotive, is set to begin manufacturing solar-powered electric cars in Uusikaupunki starting next spring.

Valmet Automotive forged a preliminary agreement with Dutch firm Lightyear, due to be confirmed in August. Under the agreement, Valmet will manufacture a few hundred vehicles belonging to a limited series of Lightyear One electric cars.

The Finnish company manufactures batteries in Salo, while the factory in Uusikaupunki currently assembles Mercedes-Benz vehicles as well as hybrid models.

"A few years ago, we made decisions on a new strategy for sustainable development and transport. As a product, this fits the picture perfectly," manufacturing director Pasi Rannus said.

The production of solar-powered vehicles does not differ significantly from that of electric cars, according to Rannus. Manufacturing involves simply equipping the cars with solar panels that produce cleaner energy.

Rannus described the business venture as "a new direction" for the company.

"We get to learn something new and Lightyear gets to utilise our expertise in car manufacturing," he said.

Correction 19.7. 22.10: The company in question is Valmet Automotive, not Valmet as earlier said in the headline and text.

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