Charge your car wirelessly, they already do that in Gothenburg | NOW

No more hassle with cables and connectors: wireless charging of an electric car, or inductive charging, is the dream of many electric drivers. The Swedish city of Gothenburg wants to be CO2-neutral by 2030 and pushes forward. With electric buses, taxis and ferries, with common services, smart delivery services and with inductive charging.

Taxi driver Alex Gonimar rolls his electric Volvo over the blue plate that has been built into the roadway in the parking lot. The view from the 360-degree camera in his car shows him exactly where to stop. Then the performance begins. As if by magic, his XC40 Recharge draws power from the ground: wireless with a power of 40 kW.

Inductive charging is the name of this technology. It is known from electric toothbrushes and also from mobile phones, where you place the phone on a charging station.

Volvo works with Momentum Dynamics near Philadelphia. Americans are developing the charging technology that can be installed in the car and on the road. The energy company Göteborg Energi is responsible for the power supply and Vattenfall for the invoicing. The ‘charging pads’ automatically recognize the car, so the driver does not need a credit card or smartphone app to start the charging process. “Everything is a lot easier,” says taxi driver Alex Gonimar. Every time he waits for a customer, he now automatically adds a few kilowatt hours.

With this Volvo, it even works with a distance of only a few centimeters between the car and the road surface. Gonimar’s experience is part of a larger whole: a practical test for the city of the future.

The image from the 360-degree camera in his car shows the taxi driver exactly where to stop.

The image from the 360-degree camera in his car shows the taxi driver exactly where to stop.

The image from the 360-degree camera in his car shows the taxi driver exactly where to stop.

Photo: AutoWeek

‘Mobility must be smarter and more efficient’

By 2030, Gothenburg (with a million inhabitants the second largest city in Sweden) wants to be climate neutral. “In 2021, we have selected three districts where we will put different ideas to the test,” says Jonas Eriksson from the city’s department for economic development. The city’s employees call their experimental neighborhoods Green Urban Zones.

Eriksson drove to his appointment this morning in his electric Volkswagen ID.4, but he usually takes the bike. He stands in front of a diorama, a three-dimensional image of the city. It shows new high-rise buildings and new bridges. Gothenburg wants to grow. “By 2040, the city will have grown to 120,000 inhabitants, but if more people move here, we will not be able to increase the number of road users in the city at the same rate,” Eriksson concludes. “So change is needed. Electrification is one aspect of this. But at the same time, mobility needs to become more efficient and smarter.”

Take courier services: Gothenburg is thinking of logistics hubs on the outskirts of the city. All goods for the city can be delivered there. The last bit (the so-called ‘last kilometer‘) delivered to the customer in an electric van. Thus, not all suppliers drive their own vehicle, as is currently the case. Distribution of perishable goods, such as food and flowers, will also become more integrated in the future. “A lot of traffic data has already been collected. Now we have to use it intelligently,” says Eriksson. “We need to digitize mobility.”

“Change is possible. Even within a few years.”

Jonas Eriksson, Gothenburg Economic Development Department

Electric scooters are fun, but there are no fewer cars on the road

The problem: Until now, new forms of mobility have often not replaced anything, but only added more means of transport. “A good example of this is the electric scooters,” says Eriksson. There are plenty of them in Gothenburg, but they have hardly reduced car consumption. The goals of the Swedes are ambitious, but achievable, the city planners are convinced. “We as a city can set the goal. We need the private sector to implement it,” says Eriksson.

The consequences for car owners

What do all these plans mean for car owners? Can you still drive your car with an internal combustion engine through Gothenburg after 2030? Eriksson: “We hope there is no more reason to do so. In any case, the acceptance of electric cars is now great. In 2007 there were 125 electric cars all over Sweden. Today there are 300,000, and that is in fifteen years So change is possible, even within a few years. “

More inhabitants, same transport space: It is simply inevitable that everyone reconsiders their mobility, says Eriksson. “Of course many are dependent on a car, but other people are not. So everyone has to ask themselves: maybe I can cycle more? Can I use a common service? If not, can I then switch to an electric car?”

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