Starting in the spring of 2021, the Swedish port city of Gothenburg is planning to establish a zero-emission urban area under the title ‘Gothenburg Green City Zone,’ which will have a variety of climate-neutral modes of transport and a networked infrastructure.
The background to this is that Gothenburg aims to become a climate-neutral city by 2030. With the ‘Gothenburg Green City Zone,’ the municipality is now paving the way for this. The area is to cover a large area in the centre and surrounding districts of Gothenburg and, according to the agency Business Region Gothenburg is advancing to become “a huge test and demonstration area where companies, social actors, universities and institutions can work together to test new technologies and expand their operations, products and services in transportation, infrastructure, energy and other environmentally relevant areas.”
The goal is for all vehicles commuting in or out of the ‘green zone’ to be emission-free by 2030. The initiative is the responsibility of the City of Gothenburg and the agency Business Region Gothenburg, as well as Volvo Cars and the Swedish RISE Research Institutes, but is explicitly open to all stakeholders “who want to participate in some way in creating sustainable solutions for the Gothenburg region and spreading them around the world.” The initiators report that interest in the Green City Zone is already high: Chalmers University of Technology, the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg, the Swedish Exhibition and Congress Center, the city of Mölndal in the metropolitan area of Gothenburg, and Johanneberg Science Park are now also on board, according to the report.
“In Gothenburg Green City Zone the city and the business and research communities will work together to make the transportation system emission-free in a very short time,” emphasizes Axel Josefson, chairman of the Gothenburg City Council. “With this collaboration, we will take the lead on sustainability issues in Europe as well as show that we are serious about the city’s climate contract with the EU and about our ambitious sustainability goals for 2030.”
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Volvo Cars has issued its own press release on its role in the major project. The company is headquartered in Gothenburg and plans to provide, among other things, robotic cabs operated by its mobility service M, founded in 2018, for the “green zone” in its home city. “We want to use our knowledge and technology to help create a future city that is electrified, connected, shared and climate-neutral,” expresses Henrik Green, chief technology officer at Volvo Cars.
Among other things, Volvo says it will test geo-solutions in the ‘Green City Zone’ that ensure vehicles on-site drive exclusively in electric mode and adhere to speed limits. Traffic infrastructure will also be modified to connect with vehicles and exchange information between road users, Volvo says. Also being considered are all-electric mobility hubs and an easy-to-use charging network.
“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,” says Håkan Samuelsson, CEO 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.”
With reporting by Cora Werwitzke, France.