“Alternatives to diesel important in the future”
Catharina Häggström, at the Group’s strategy department, says that energy is already a hot topic.
“The availability of oil is declining and the call for renewable fuel from politicians and the authorities is growing. Finding alternatives to diesel will be more and more important in the future,” she says.
She and her colleagues can envisage a world in which a large amount of energy comes from the sun, wind and water. They believe in more and more local variants, depending on the access to different energy sources, such as coal, natural gas or biogas. They also regard electricity as an extremely interesting alternative. There are already a number of variants of pure electric vehicles and hybrids in the Group and this trend is continuing.
Niklas Gustafsson, who is involved with social contact at Public Affairs at AB Volvo, also believes that electricity is going to play an important role in the future, especially in towns and cities. He talks about new ways of transporting goods, with terminals outside towns and cities where the goods are re-loaded from large trucks to small electric vehicles.
“The Group is participating in a number of projects of this kind. One example is Citylog, a EU project, which is being tested in collaboration with Renault Trucks in Lyon in France,” he says.
However, reducing carbon emissions is not the only requirement. Time is also going to play an important role in future developments. The new generation is not simply interested in rapid connections and a comfortable life, it is also keen to avoid spending hours sitting in traffic jams or shopping at supermarkets outside towns and cities.
“We are seeing an interesting trend in which small shops in city centres are once again on the increase. The large French food chain, Carrefour, is one example. It has stopped opening supermarkets and is instead investing in small shops in towns and cities to which it is keen for goods to be delivered by electric vehicles,” says Catharina Häggström.
So what approach should the Volvo Group adopt?
Niklas Gustafsson is convinced that collaborating with different stakeholders is one important way.
“This is already happening, but I envisage much more clearly defined interplay between us and society in the future, where we help to resolve issues relating to transport and the infrastructure,” he says and refers to the Goup’s vision of being the world leader when it comes to sustainable transport solutions.
“Everything that has been mentioned is part of being sustainable. By improving transport, providing effective vehicles and finding alternative fuels, we are contributing to society’s social and economic development, while safeguarding the environment at the same time,” he says.