Volvo Cars is teaming up with Gothenburg, its hometown in Sweden, to turn Scandinavia’s largest port city into an emission-free model city for the future.

The initiative, called Gothenburg Green City Zone, will establish an area inside the city with a variety of climate-neutral transportation modes and a connected infrastructure, serving as a realistic test bed for technologies such as electrification, shared mobility, autonomous driving, connectivity and safety.

As part of its plans, Volvo will also be running autonomous robotaxis within the zone, operated by its fully-owned mobility provider M.

The XC40 Recharge, Volvo’s first fully-electric model.

“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 Volvo Cars chief executive Håkan Samuelsson. “We want to be involved in creating the cities of the future and keep them liveable. This initiative gives us an opportunity to do that and take on responsibility in our own hometown at the same time.”

By working with the city, Volvo will be able to test technologies such as geo-fenced electric-only zones, and direct communication with the vehicle’s safety systems via Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) connectivity. This will open the doors to true autonomous vehicles, which have always had limited public road-testing due to

Other potential examples include fully electric mobility hubs, electric cars charging network, and as mentioned above, autonomous taxis to reduce vehicles on the road.

According to Volvo, the main obstacle to climate transition is not a lack of climate-friendly and smart technologies, but the capacity to implement them. With the Swedish carmaker having an active role in the planning process of this initiative, they can ensure that the climate-neutral zone integrates its electrified mobility services from the get go, and develops them in a live environment, thus increasing the impact on sustainability goals.

“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, Volvo Car’s CTO. “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.”

The Gothenburg Green City Zone initiative will begin later in 2021, and will gradually scale up going forward. In related news, Volvo has also confirmed that its second fully-electric BEV model will debut later this year.