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Volvo helps hometown Gothenburg become climate neutral

EVs and robo taxis aim to create emission-free zone in Scandinavia’s largest port city

Geo-enabling solutions ensure that cars in the zone operate in electric-only mode. Picture: SUPPLIED
Geo-enabling solutions ensure that cars in the zone operate in electric-only mode. Picture: SUPPLIED

With the aim of achieving a climate-neutral city by 2030, Volvo Cars has teamed up with its home 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, with a variety of climate-neutral transportation modes and a connected infrastructure.

Using a real city as a testing ground will enable Volvo to accelerate 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.

“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,” said Håkan Samuelsson, CEO of Volvo Cars.

“This is already proven by our investment in the shared mobility service M, which has developed proprietary AI technology to improve efficiency and utilisation. We want to be involved in creating the cities of the future and keep them liveable.”

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.

“We want to use our knowledge and technology to help create a future city that is electrified, connected, shared and climate neutral,” said Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer at Volvo Cars. “This is an opportunity to lead by example: by testing new technologies and services in a live large-scale environment, we can show if it is possible here, it is possible anywhere.”

Other potential examples include fully electric mobility hubs; a complete, easy-to-use charging network for electric cars; and autonomous taxis.

During 2020, M has, through its proprietary AI technology, proven to reduce congestion and lower emissions in Gothenburg, with one car from M now replacing eight privately owned cars in the city.

Volvo Cars aims to be a climate-neutral company by 2040. By 2025 it plans a 40% reduction of its C02 footprint per car; global sales consisting of 50% fully electric cars, with the rest hybrids; and a 25% reduction of carbon emissions generated by the company’s manufacturing and logistics operations.

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