In just six months after contacting Helsinki Business Hub, SHIFT Electric Mobility has established a company and started its after-sales service business for electric vehicles in Finland. Helsinki Business Hub has supported the effort with market information and crucial contacts.
What happens when two automotive maintenance connoisseurs realise that Chinese electric transport manufacturers are looking for partners in the Nordic countries? They quickly establish a company, SHIFT Electric Mobility, in a rising electric mobility market.
Thomas Sabathier, one of the founders, tells that SHIFT Electric Mobility provides technical support, mobile service, quality management and spare parts distribution for electric bus and car manufacturers and operators in Finland and other Nordic countries. It is the leading player in its field due to its large service palette and wide network.
“The Chinese manufacturer Byd already has 119 electric buses in the public transport system in Helsinki and Turku, and we take care of their after-sales services,” says Sabathier. “Our aim is to grow with them and other clients in Finland.”
The prospects look great thanks to the technical development of electric buses and the ambitious climate goals of cities and the state. HSL Helsinki Region Transport, a local joint authority, plans to reduce 90% of the CO2 emissions of public transport in the Helsinki region by 2025 compared to year 2010. This means that the number of electric buses will grow from current 161 to 400.
Local help and market information speeds up landing
SHIFT Electric Mobility Finland established its business in Finland very fast, in just six months, despite COVID-19. Sabathier says that the help from Helsinki Business Hub has been essential. Their support has included a lot of brainstorming, market information about the Finnish market and potential supplier and partner contacts and introductions.
One of the first tasks was to recruit personnel.
Finnish people are hard-working and easy and nice to work with.
“We learned that in Finland, employers are responsible for their employees’ healthcare and talked a lot about the right recruitment channels and the language of our recruitment ad. We decided to put the title in Finnish and job description in English to get the right kind of employees. Our company language is English,” says Sabathier.
SHIFT Electric Mobility Finland already has five maintenance team members in Finland. Sabathier is impressed by how easy building a team has been.
“Finnish people are hard-working and easy and nice to work with. There is a sense of belonging and doing things together, and dialogue is very open,” says Sabathier.
He adds that the same easiness can be found in business and even administrative relationships.
Working with strategic partners ease the setup of facilities
Helsinki Business Hub also helped SHIFT Electric Mobility Finland to find strategic partners to set up maintenance and parking facilities. The electric buses arrived in the Helsinki Airport way before their handover to Nobina, the electric bus operator.
“We partnered with Raskone, a workshop chain, to set up maintenance facilities to give the buses a finishing touch. They helped us, for instance, to fill in the AC gas in all systems and do regulatory VDO calibration. Raskone has been a solid and reliable partner in the roll-out of the whole delivery, which had a challenging timeline,” says Sabathier.
Lentoparkki was chosen as the parking partner nearby the Helsinki Airport. SHIFT Electric Mobility Finland rented almost half of the total parking space, reveals Sabathier.
Supporting the whole mobility ecosystem
The electric buses of Byd now ride in the streets of Helsinki and Turku. If a problem arises, SHIFT Electric Mobility Finland’s mobile team is ready to help whether there is a need for a spare part, the workshop needs support, or a software issue to be solved.
“We have trained our mobile team well, they know how to work with high-voltage systems. Our experts are ready to go and solve the situation immediately,” highlights Sabathier.
Sabathier stresses that SHIFT Electric Mobility Finland has an important role in developing the electric buses further with the manufacturer and operator. All experiences are shared to find new solutions.
It seems that next year the amount of Byd buses in Finland will grow. SHIFT Electric Mobility Finland also cooperates with other electric mobility clients such as electric trucks and electric plane businesses.
“We want to be ready to support the whole electric mobility ecosystem,” concludes Sabathier.
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Writer: Katja Alaja