Stockholm is set to prohibit fossil-fueled cars from entering its city centre starting in 2025. The Swedish capital is taking concrete steps towards its commitment to environmental sustainability by banning petrol and diesel vehicles.
The plan has been formed since approximately a year ago. At the time, the newly elected city administration initiated plans to restrict entry to electric cars and highly fuel-efficient combustion vehicles.
The implementation will begin with Class 3 environmental zones at the beginning of 2025, with the potential for an extension within six months.
Recent regulations specify that an area spanning 180,000 square metres, approximately equivalent to 20 city blocks, encompasses Stockholm’s financial and primary shopping districts. This area will exclusively permit electric cars, some hybrid trucks, and fuel-cell vehicles.
In early 2025, the city may expand this zone beyond its core streets: Kungsgatan, Birger Jarlsgatan, Hamngatan, and Sveavägen. The Class 3 environmental zone will become effective on December 31, 2024. It will also include the entrance and exit of the Klaratunneln located on Mäster Samuelsgatan.
In 2018, the Swedish government empowered local authorities to establish environmental zones for enhanced air quality. Stockholm is set to become the first ever Swedish city to enforce the most stringent Class 3 zone, prohibiting nearly all diesel and petrol vehicles.
This action aligns with the city’s goal to transform into a top European walking and cycling hub, as articulated by Åsa Lindhagen, a new Green Party mayor in Stockholm, last October.
In order to diminish car traffic, the city will enhance public transportation and improve pedestrian and cyclist mobility. This decision would render car journeys largely obsolete.
“The environmental zone is being introduced in an area where there are a lot of pedestrians and cyclists, where the air quality needs to improve,” transport councillor Lars Strömgren said. “It’s also an area of the city centre where we can see a high commitment to electrification, where there are key actors who can be a driving force in this transition.”
Stockholm could lead the way as the first major European capital to implement such an extensive ban. The Swedish capital can even surpass the plans of cities like Paris, Athens, and Madrid to prohibit internal combustion engine (ICE) cars.
Meanwhile, cities like London have introduced low-emission zones, imposing daily fees for older combustion engine vehicles entering the city centre. London further expanded its ultra-low emissions zones in August, positioning itself among the most ambitious cities globally.
Second Phase for Stockholm
A second phase of the Stockholm environmental zone extension will be proposed in 2024, subject to a vote in the first half of 2025. Meanwhile, the full implementation is targeted by 2026. The ultimate goal is to make all traffic within Stockholm’s city centre emission-free by 2030, aiming for a 30 percent reduction in car traffic compared to 2017 levels.
Oslo, the capital of EV-forward Norway, also aims to achieve emission-free status by 2030. The municipal environment agency has recommended introducing a zero-emission zone within the city, starting with heavy transport and trucks in 2025 and extending to cars in 2027.
In Stockholm, exceptions to the ban may apply to low-emission hybrid heavy goods vehicles. The ban also excludes emergency and healthcare vehicles and drivers with disabled parking permits.
Stockholm also envisions having 100,000 charging points within the city by 2030. As of May 2022, Stockholm Parking had already installed more than 1,000 EV charging points.
Volvo’s Drive Pilot System
In addition to Stockholm’s ban on fossil-fueled cars, Sweden is now considering a new proposal to allow self-driving cars on its roads.
The automotive industry is heavily investing in autonomous vehicle development, with companies like Volvo working on technologies like the Drive Pilot self-driving system for their upcoming electric SUV EX90.
This car will initially be available only to California owners. Current rules prohibit cars with such systems from being used in Sweden, resulting in Kia offering its large electric SUV EV9 without Lidar technology in the Swedish market.
The government is introducing a new regulation for autonomous vehicles to clarify the rules. The proposals are undergoing a consultation process, intending to enforce the regulation from July 1 next year.
Determining Accident Responsibility
Andreas Carlson, the Infrastructure and Housing Minister from the Christian Democrats, highlights the potential of automated driving to enhance transportation efficiency and safety, emphasising its benefits.
The government’s goal with the new regulation is to facilitate the development and introduction of automated vehicles in Sweden. They also plan to pave the way for fully self-driving vehicles once the technology is ready.
Although there’s an existing EU regulation with technical requirements for autonomous vehicles, no such vehicles have yet received type approval in Sweden.
A key question surrounding autonomous vehicles is accident responsibility. According to the government’s proposal, the person who activates the autonomous function will be held responsible in case of an accident.
Electric Fleet Transition
Following Stockholm’s ban on fossil-fueled cars and the development of self-driving cars, Volta Trucks, a pioneering all-electric commercial vehicle manufacturer and services provider, has partnered with Societe Generale Equipment Finance (SGEF).
SGEF is a globally recognized equipment and vendor financing leader with over 25 years of industry experience. The company is set to play a pivotal role in supporting businesses across various sectors.
This partnership is a significant step towards offering vehicle financing as part of Volta Trucks’ comprehensive Truck as a Service (TaaS) solution.
Within this collaboration, SGEF is set to provide Volta Trucks’ customers with Operating and Finance Lease funding programs, extending support for customer agreements throughout its European markets, with durations of up to eight years.
Volta Trucks’ innovative TaaS solution encompasses a range of seven turnkey product offerings, including financing, insurance, service, and maintenance. This approach aims to facilitate a smoother, more customised transition to electric fleets while also empowering operators to optimise vehicle uptime and operational efficiency.
The Chief Executive Officer of Volta Trucks, Essa Al-Saleh, expressed his delight regarding the partnership with Societe Generale Equipment Finance. He mentioned that their substantial financial expertise would assist in expanding their outreach, expediting fleet adoption, and promoting positive changes within the industry.
“These bespoke finance offerings paired with the residual value of the Volta Zero means we can provide customers with a lower Total Cost of Ownership as we continue to push the transition to an all-electric future,” Al-Saleh said.
Florence Roussel-Pollet, the Chief Commercial Officer of SGEF, also shared the same sentiment.
“At Societe Generale Equipment Finance, we are committed to supporting sustainable initiatives that contribute to a greener future,” Roussel-Pollet said. “This financial support will enable businesses to embrace the progression to electric fleets, fostering sustainability and innovation in the industry.”
Roussel-Pollet also conveyed the company’s enthusiasm for its role in advancing electric fleet solutions throughout Europe.