The tempo is rising in the automotive industry’s adoption of electrical power. At the same time, outside interest in Sweden and Gothenburg is rising – as is the region’s capacity to quickly turn concepts into finished products. We put five questions to Business Region Göteborg’s experts, Per Österström and Bernt Svensén.
Business Region Göteborg’s Per Österström, Vehicles and Transport, and Bernt Svensén, Green Gothenburg, keep a close eye on the prevailing trends within electromobility and new green jobs. When they participate in the “Nordic EV Summit – creating new green jobs” in Drammen, Norway, they are met with substantial interest in the Gothenburg region’s competence in the area.
What are we seeing happen in the automotive industry?
“At the moment we are seeing the rapid electrification of the automotive industry, much more rapid than almost anyone predicted. The technology is significantly advanced now and both manufacturers and users are knowledgeable of the surrounding issues. Sweden and Gothenburg are at the forefront of this shift. We have a strong ecosystem for development in the electric vehicle industry, given that we have companies at all points in the chain, from concept to finished product,” says Per Österström.
What were the biggest issues addressed at the EV Nordic Summit?
“Naturally, the new green jobs and the question of how we work with sustainable transport,” say Per Österström and Bernt Svensén in unison.
“Electrification is a major source of potential for the industry but also poses significant challenges. There is a lot of potential to create new green jobs, but it is a challenge for all companies to successfully adapt to the pace of change,” says Per.
“There was also a Brokerage Event/2B matchmaking during the conference, where companies hope to create new contacts from other countries. The participating companies are there both to attract new faces to their work-force and to sell their services and products.”
Where does Gothenburg stand in the development of electric vehicles?
“The automotive industry in Sweden has a strong innovative tradition and is known for developing new technologies, as well as for bringing together academia, research and industry,” says Per.
“Gothenburg is the centre of a hub. At its centre is research, from Chalmers, for example, but the real strength lies in the close bonds forged with industry. We have the entire chain here, engaged in the production of vehicles, batteries, fuel cell manufacture, charging technology and more, as well as benefiting from an energy sector that is investing in the area. We are also strong when it comes to automation, self-driving cars and telematics – the transfer of information. These two technologies are crucial to the development of the electromobility industry and we have them on our doorstep.”
What do the new technologies and new services mean for large, growing cities?
“Cities have a lot to gain from the electrification of their car fleets, and electrification also creates opportunities for new, sustainable systems that benefit both the city’s residents and the climate,” says Per.
“Electric vehicles create a more pleasant environment for inhabitants to live in too, with no emissions and less noise. This means, for example, that we can increase population density in cities, which would subsequently mean we could offer a higher level of service.” And doing so would also create new jobs,” says Per.
What is the scope of international interest for the Gothenburg region’s research and development in this field?
“There is a substantial amount of interest, quite simply because we know what we are doing. We have a profound knowledge of the systems required and the capability to develop the products,” explains Bernt.
“We also work actively with matters relating to sustainable transport systems. Within ASSET (Association of Swedish Environmental Technology Industries), Business Region Göteborg and Green Gothenburg are responsible for the nationwide coordination of export activities for sustainable transport. Our job is to create the arenas giving Swedish companies easier access to a new, large market. We are advertising Swedish competence in export trade and the potential for investments, establishment and collaboration in the Gothenburg region, and Sweden as a whole.”
The Nordic EV Summitwas held in Drammen on 7-8 February and brought together decision-makers from national and local authorities throughout the Nordic region. It also welcomed representatives from the Nordic electric vehicle industry, as well as researchers and users of electromobility technology.