Volvo Cars has partnered with the city of Gothenburg in Sweden, the OEM’s hometown, for the creation of new urban zones that will be used as testbeds for future sustainable technologies, and is part of the city’s effort of being climate-neutral by 2030.
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, the automaker said. 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 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, chief executive of Volvo Cars. “This is already proven by our investment in the shared mobility service M, who have developed proprietary A.I. technology to improve efficiency and utilization. We want to be involved in creating the cities of the future and keep them livable. 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.
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 reduced congestion and lowered emissions in Gothenburg, with one car from M now replacing 8 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 a number of objectives to be completed by 2025.
This includes a 40% reduction of its CO2 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 overall operations, including manufacturing and logistics.
The Green City Zone initiative starts in spring 2021 and will gradually scale up going forward.