With ten years to go, Volvo Cars has partnered with the Gothenburg (Sweden) city council to create new urban areas to be used as an experimental platform for future sustainable technologies that are supposedly possible by 2030.
The goal of the “Gothenburg Green City Zone” initiative is to establish a zone within the largest port city in Scandinavia, with a connected infrastructure and a number of modes of transport without environmental impact where the level of emissions is equal to zero. Using a real city as a test bed will allow Volvo to accelerate the development of technologies and services related to electrification, shared mobility, autonomous driving, connectivity and safety.
As part of this initiative, Volvo plans to put robotic taxis into circulation in the area, operated by the mobility provider M, which is wholly owned by Volvo. «Basically we have launched a project with which it is intended to limit the number of vehicles in the city; something that is fully in line with our company objective,” says Håkan Samuelsson, CEO of Volvo Cars. “This is already demonstrated by our investment in the shared mobility service M, whose team has developed proprietary AI technology to improve efficiency and use. We want to participate in the process of shaping the cities of the future and keeping them livable. This initiative gives us the opportunity to do that while taking on responsibilities in our hometown.
Technologies to be tested include, for example, geolocation services and solutions that ensure that vehicles in the area only operate in electric mode and respect speed limits, and a traffic infrastructure that can connect with the functions of active vehicle safety and enable information sharing between road users. “We want to use our knowledge and technologies to help create an electrified, connected, shared-resources and zero-emissions city of the future,” says Henrik Green, Volvo Cars CTO. “This is our chance to lead by example: by testing new services and technologies in a real-world environment on a large scale, we can show that if it’s possible here, it’s possible anywhere.” Other possible examples are fully electric mobility hubs, a comprehensive and user-friendly charging network for electric vehicles and autonomous taxis. The main obstacle to the climate transition is not the lack of smart and climate-friendly technologies, but the ability to apply them. The transformation requires a holistic strategy to foster innovation and intense and constant collaboration between all stakeholders.Volvo wants to reduce polluation and to be eco system friendly.
As Volvo is also actively involved in the planning process of this initiative, the company can ensure from the beginning that its electrified mobility services are integrated into the area and develop in a real environment, which will increase the impact on the objectives of sustainability. During 2020 and thanks to its patented AI technology, M has reduced congestion and lowered the level of emissions in Gothenburg to the point that, at this moment, one M vehicle replaces 8 private vehicles in the city. Similar to the city of Gothenburg’s target, Volvo Cars is constantly reducing its carbon footprint with the aim that by 2040 the company will have no climate impact. In order to achieve this goal, the company has set a series of objectives for 2025. Among them are, for example, a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions from all its vehicles; that half of global sales correspond to fully electric vehicles and the rest to hybrids; and a 25% reduction in carbon emissions generated by the a’s general activities, including manufacturing and logistics. The “Green City Zone” initiative will launch in spring 2021 and will gradually scale up the future.