January 12, 2021
Volvo Cars and Gothenburg set out to create a climate-neutral city
At Volvo Cars, we’re constantly looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint, as our ambition is to be a climate-neutral company by 2040. To get there, we have a long list of targets that we want to achieve. A few examples of what we want to accomplish in the near future – or 2025 to be more exact – include having our sales consist of 50 per cent fully electric cars, with the rest hybrids; and reducing the carbon emissions generated by our overall operations by 25 per cent, compared to our 2018 baseline.
And although we have our own goals, we can still try to do even more. That's why we've initiated a new project together with the City of Gothenburg, in the aim of achieving a climate-neutral city by 2030. In this project, called Gothenburg Green City Zone, we have an active role in the planning process of an area in Gothenburg that will be completely emission-free, with a connected infrastructure and multiple modes of climate-neutral transportation.
This testbed will allow us to try out some exciting new technologies: for example, we plan to run autonomous taxis operated by the shared mobility service M, within the zone. The fact that this zone will be in a real city with real cars is the cherry on top, since there's nothing like a proper field test.
This project means we can do our part for our hometown while boosting our development in the areas of electrification, autonomous driving, connectivity and safety at the same time.
"Essentially, we initiate 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, our chief executive. "This is already proven by our investment in the shared mobility service M, which has developed proprietary A.I. technology to improve efficiency and utilisation. We want to be involved in creating the cities of the future and keep them livable. This project gives us an opportunity to do that and take on responsibility in our own hometown at the same time."
During 2020, M operated in nine Swedish cities. According to a report on the car sharing service's sustainability effects in Stockholm (published late last year), one shared M car now removes up to eight privately owned cars in the Swedish capital, contributing to a reduction of up to 8,200 tons of CO2 from tailpipe emissions.
We’re also planning to test geo-enabling solutions and services – intended to make sure that every car in the zone operates in electric-only mode and sticks to the speed limits – as well as traffic infrastructure that can connect to active safety features in cars and share information between road users. Other potential examples include fully-electric carpools and a complete easy-to-use charging network for electric cars.
"We want to use our knowledge and technology to help create a future city that is electrified, connected, shared and climate-neutral," says Henrik Green, our chief technology officer. "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."
Volvo Cars and the City of Gothenburg through Business Region Gothenburg are the co-initiators of Gothenburg Green City Zone. However, the interest to join in is big among a large number of stakeholders within businesses, academia and institutions. Among these are RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden), Chalmers, University of Gothenburg and a number of public institutions within areas such as energy, parking, infrastructure and environment.
Gothenburg Green City Zone is one of several initiatives under the ‘Gothenburg Mobilisation’ agenda, where Volvo Cars will work with the city of Gothenburg and other stakeholders, with the overall purpose of enhancing the attractiveness and competitiveness of our hometown.
The Green City Zone project starts in spring 2021 and will gradually scale up – and stories with concrete actions will be shared as the project progresses.