The Swedish city of Gothenburg is planning to establish a zero-emission urban area, dubbed the ‘Green City Zone‘, which will incorporate ‘”large-scale testing of future technologies”.
The zone, which is set to get underway by spring 2021, will cover a large area of the city centre and surrounding districts, with plans to host a “huge test and demonstration area” where companies, universities and others can work together to test new technologies and expand their operations, products and services in transportation, infrastructure and energy.
A number of firms, including automobile giant Volvo, have signed up to take part, with plans to test new technology and make the zone 100 percent emission-free by 2030.
Axel Josefson, Chairman of the Municipal Board at the City of Gothenburg, said: “In [the] zone, the city, business community and research actors will work together to switch the transport system to be emission-free in a very short [amount of] time.
“Through this collaboration, we [will] show the way in sustainability issues in Europe and that we are serious about the city’s climate contract with the EU and our ambitious sustainability goals by 2030.”
‘Possibilities, not bans’
The city insisted the zone will not lead to bans or restrictions on certain vehicles, though did not elaborate on how non-electric vehicles will be accommodated.
Volvo, which is headquartered in Gothenburg, plans to provide robotic cabs operated by its mobility service, M,
“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.
The company also says it will test ‘geo-solutions’ in the 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.
All-electric mobility hubs and an easy-to-use charging network are also being considered.
Gothenburg has implemented a congestion charge on all cars entering the city centre since 2013, and while mopeds and scooters are exempt, electric vehicles are not.
The Swedish government has already announced its intention to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, commissioning an inquiry in 2019 into the practicalities of the the plan and how to promote it across the EU.
“Sweden will be the world’s first fossil-free welfare nation,” said Minister for Financial Markets and Housing, Per Bolund.
“The transport sector is responsible for a third of Sweden’s emissions of greenhouse gases, and thus has a significant role to play in the climate transition.”
The final report is set to be published by 1 February 2021.