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Volvo CE joined the intergroup discussion on the EU technology and innovation policies

Volvo CE joined the intergroup discussion on the EU technology and innovation policies
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Volvo CE joined the intergroup discussion on the EU technology and innovation policies

IMAGE SOURCE: CECE - Committee for European Construction Equipment

How can Horizon Europe programmes boost innovation and enable Europe to further strengthen its position as a global technology leader? This was the question at the event hosted by the Sustainable, Long-term Investments & Competitive European Industry Intergroup on 25th June. The online debate brought together policymakers and industry experts.


The event, organised by Orgalim and chaired by MEP Carvalho, saw the participation of Commissioner Gabriel with a keynote speech.

Thomas Bitter, Senior Vice President for Technology at Volvo CE, joined the discussion and spoke as an industry expert bringing the perspective of the Volvo Group.

He first presented the ambitious commitment of the Volvo Group towards innovation and sustainability. It consists in progressively reducing the rolling fleet using combustion engines, with the end goal of offering a carbon-free rolling fleet by 2050. In order to achieve that, Volvo Group aims at increasing fossil-free carbon transport solutions, using battery and fuel cell technology as well as alternative fuels.

On the basis of this, Mr Bitter made a fundamental link between sustainability and digitalisation, which are mutually-reinforceable. Products must certainly be sustainable, as they need to be profitable, competitive and connected. Connectivity and the generated data must be exploited, in order to bring more value to customers.

Importance of a European policy framework enabling innovation

For Thomas Bitter it is important to build an EU policy framework enabling innovation. In this framework, European partnerships within and across industry sectors are essential tools to tackle key technological challenges, such as the journey to electrification and hydrogen. Given their magnitude, these challenges cannot be met by a single industry or country alone. They need a solution and support at European level.

In his opinion, a successful example of this approach is the joint company set up by the Volvo Group and Daimler in order to investigate, develop, and implement fuel cell technology in transport. This joint venture between two competitors in the trucks industry was set up with the approval and support of the European Commission, who cleared the creation of this new company under EU competition law. A European perspective is also needed when developing an electric and hydrogen network so that a truly pan-European greener road transport system can be built.

Europe must invest in people

Looking ahead, Thomas Bitter is convinced that people, with their talent and competence, have been ultimately making the difference. In his conclusion, he argued that Europe has a competitive advantage in the educational system. As such, governments and companies need to invest in it to provide women and men with the skills they need to prosper.

Source: CECE - Committee for European Construction Equipment