Yesterday I visited the electromobility conference in Graz, Austria. When other parts of the world initiates massive programs to support the introduction of electric cars, trucks and buses, Europe normally discusses the economic crisis and little or nothing is done on the federal level.
But, the city and region of Graz shows that there is hope. Where higher authorities fail, common sense of regions and cities inspires. Austria has many strong suppliers for the European automotive industry. For the region of Graz it is a matter of survival to keep a high competence and to support the upcoming technologies. City of Graz is promoting electric cars through charging posts and by enabling car poles.
Graz was one of the early adopters of the Volvo Hybrid bus. An interesting presentation was made by Mario J. Müller at FIBAG/SFL. The electrification of a small “garden truck” was in one way seen as an interesting upcoming product, but more interestingly as an enabler for new architecture and city planning. In the future, small professional vehicles make it possible to close areas in the winter and still allow zero emissions, low noise vehicles to deliver supplies to restaurants and shops. New architecture can open up for clean transports all the way to your office desk. Possibly it will be a surprise to meet an electric garden truck on the sixth floor in the future office, but when architecture and transports develop in synergy, new arenas and solutions appear. And by then it might be the most natural event in the world.
At the conference Volvo was represented by both buses and trucks. The common hybrid technology was the main subject of the day. I’m very glad to be able to welcome our truck colleagues to the market. We already have some examples of cities that have chosen to invest in both Volvo Buses and Volvo Trucks using the same workshops and technicians for the service.
Graz city has “branded” their electromobility initiative in the typical colors and patterns seen on the hybrid bus.