Västerbotten Investment Agency

The world’s leading region for cold climate testing

Test aircraft wind turbines train and vehicle in North Sweden

With an outdoor environment, a service sector and a competence level matched by few, Västerbotten offers fascinating business opportunities for the climate testing and training industry. Northern Sweden is already regarded as Europe’s number one test site for cold climate vehicle testing. This creates favourable conditions for testing within other areas as well, such as aircraft, locomotives and wind power.

The stable weather conditions, the secluded locations and the low population density are excellent prerequisites for confidential testing and development. And yet you are never far from the rest of the world. Excellent infrastructure, actively promoted by the Swedish government, makes it easy to reach the test sites while remaining connected to home. And once you are here, the high standard of facilities, accommodation and services will make your work nice and simple.

The world’s leading region for cold climate testing

With winters offering temperatures below -20 degrees Celsius, the interior of Northern Sweden is perfect for cold climate testing. With more than 30 years’ experience, this region is now regarded as Europe’s number one centre for winter vehicle testing. Many of the leading international players are active in the area and there is a cluster of facilities for vehicle testing. Over the years, the area has grown to become far more than just an ordinary testing site. Local and regional entrepreneurs are continuously working to make testing operations simple, efficient and safe by providing every type of service, from maintenance to transport, snow clearing and housing. Västerbotten offers opportunities to companies in need of high standard testing, development, refinement and training – all in a region that is characterised by great knowledge, experience and hospitality.

Luleå University of Technology, LTU, is an important driver in the region. At LTU, the Centre for Automotive System Technologies and Testing, CASTT, supports the automotive winter testing in Northern Sweden with cross-functional research cooperation as well as cooperation with test service providers and their customers. These projects include groundbreaking research and development in the fields of noise, comfort, emissions, material science and friction as well as communication and support systems. R&D that may also be of benefit in other areas.

Whatever testing you plan to do – do it here

Northern Sweden has the perfect and most stable natural assets required for climate testing. Every European OEM plus several Asian companies choose Sweden for winter vehicle testing, in part because of the guaranteed subarctic temperatures in wintertime. But there is room for many more.

Companies looking for aircraft testing facilities have undoubtedly come to the right place. Gunnarn airport in Storuman is a suitable location for establishing test operations since it can offer a restricted airspace that enables “out of vision” testing up to 5,000 feet. The facility enables  RPA/RPAS (UAV/UAS) testing and training, and supports year-round operations in a wide range of climate conditions. The main runway is 2,283 metres long and 40 metres wide, making it possible to land even cargo-liners. in addition, Gunnarn has one former air force runway, 1,000 metres long and 20 metres wide.

The airport offers access to airport facilities and can also house a wide range of related activities, a fact that makes the potential for development even greater.

The inland railway attracts tourists from far and wide during summer. But in wintertime, the railway is not in public use and can serve as test and training sites for maintenance work. The Swedish Transport Administration, responsible for all forms of transport in Sweden, manages maintenance training for winter conditions in the area. At LTU, there is also The Centre of Railway Technology, JVTC, focusing on development, operation and maintenance within the railway sector.

Testing and development of wind power is another growing business opportunity. The rough weather conditions with ice, heavy snow and strong winds are perfect for testing turbines in different set positions, at varying heights and wind strengths. A new independent test site is currently being planned and some projects have already been implemented. Both Vattenfall and Skellefteå Kraft, two major Swedish utilities, have carried out winter performance tests in the region. Thanks to pioneers such as these, the area offers knowledge that helps meet the challenges faced by the industry regarding cold climates.

5 reasons to invest in Climate Testing and Training in Västerbotten:

  • The world’s leading region for cold climate vehicle testing
  • Access to restricted airspace for aircraft risk elimination
  • Stable climate conditions
  • Excellent infrastructure
  • Remarkable service level