Following the news of Geely's innovation centre is yet another major investment in connection with Lindholmen Science Park. Sweden's Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, Mikael Damberg, has promised one billion Swedish kronor in government investments leading up to 2023 in an initiative to strengthen the Swedish automotive industry's competitiveness. The budget proposal for 2018 includes SEK 189 million to begin establishing a test bed for electric vehicles.
This is an initiative with high expectations. The major stakeholders in the Gothenburg region's automotive cluster have waited a long time for this decision. Electric vehicles are one of the megatrends in the extensive transformation of the automotive industry. AB Volvo (trucks), Volvo Cars, CEVT and Geely have expressed ambitious plans in the field of electric power.
The new test centre will be owned by Chalmers University of Technology and the state innovation group RISE, which has its head office in Lindholmen.
"It's about future-proofing Swedish jobs and ensuring that Swedish industry is at the forefront," said Mikael Damberg when he announced the news at a press conference in Lindholmen.
He underlined the ambitious plans laid out by Gothenburg's two passenger car developers, Volvo Cars and CEVT.
"But we also know that the heavyweight auto manufacturers are also looking at electrification, not least for urban environments," said the minister, and described the commitment as the largest state-funded test bed for innovation ever established in Sweden.
However, the government's budget proposal still needs to be passed by the Swedish parliament and an agreement on equal financing needs to be reached with the industry. No state funds will be provided unless trade and industry invests on the same terms.
Judging by the comments made by AB Volvo, Volvo Cars, Scania and CEVT, which attended the press conference, the negotiations shouldn't be that difficult.
All the major companies praised the initiative in the media's presence, for both the testing opportunities and the importance the centre will have for human resource planning in an industry that is facing major changes.
Another issue that remains to be resolved is the location. RISE and Chalmers University of Technology, together with the City of Gothenburg, are looking for suitable premises or land on which to build the test centre at the earliest possible opportunity