With the aim of achieving a climate-neutral city by 2030, Volvo Cars has teamed up with the City of Gothenburg in Sweden for the creation of new urban zones that will be used as testbeds for future sustainable technologies. The initiative, called Gothenburg Green City Zone, aims to establish an area inside Scandinavia’s largest port city that is completely emission-free. It will include a variety of climate-neutral transportation modes and a connected infrastructure.
Using a real city as a testing ground will enable Volvo to accelerate the development of technologies and services in the areas of electrification, shared mobility, autonomous driving, connectivity and safety. As part of the testbed, Volvo plans to run robotaxis operated by its fully owned mobility provider, M, within the zone.
Håkan Samuelsson, Chief Executive of Volvo Cars, said: “Essentially, we are initiating a project that intends to limit the number of cars in the city, which is fully in line with our company’s purpose. This is already proven by our investment in the shared mobility service M, who have developed proprietary artificial intelligence technology to improve efficiency and utilisation.
“We want to be involved in creating the cities of the future and keep them liveable. This initiative gives us an opportunity to do that and take on responsibility in our own hometown at the same time.”
Examples of technologies to be tested include geo-enabling solutions and services ensuring that cars in the zone operate in electric-only mode and remain within speed limits, as well as traffic infrastructure that can connect to active safety features in cars and share information between road users.
Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer at Volvo Cars, said: “We want to use our knowledge and technology to help create a future city that is electrified, connected, shared and climate-neutral. This is an opportunity to lead by example. By testing new technologies and services in a live large-scale environment we can show that if it is possible here, it is possible anywhere.”
Other potential examples include fully electric mobility hubs, a complete and easy-to-use charging network for electric cars and autonomous taxis. The main obstacle to climate transition is not a lack of climate-friendly and smart technologies, but the capacity to implement them. The transformation requires a holistic approach to foster innovation and a deep and continuous collaboration between all stakeholders.
Since Volvo Cars also has an active role in the planning process of this initiative, it can ensure that, from the start, the zone integrates its electrified mobility services and develops them in a live environment, increasing the impact on sustainability goals.
During 2020, M has, through its proprietary artificial intelligence technology, proven to reduce congestion and lower emissions in Gothenburg, with one car from M now replacing eight privately owned cars in the city. Similar to the City of Gothenburg’s aim, Volvo Cars is continuously reducing its carbon footprint, with the ambition to be a climate-neutral company by 2040. To realise this goal, the company has devised several objectives to be completed by 2025.
A few examples include a 40 percent reduction of its CO2 footprint per car and global sales consisting of 50 percent fully electric cars, with the rest hybrids. Plus, a 25 percent reduction of carbon emissions generated by the company’s overall operations, including manufacturing and logistics.
The Green City Zone initiative starts in spring 2021 and will gradually scale up going forward.