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New electric plane industry will make Gothenburg even greener

7 November 2022
Heart Aerospace’s investment in electric planes has been described as one of the most exciting developments the European aviation industry has seen in decades. But what does the investment mean for Gothenburg?

In just a few years Heart Aerospace has gone from an idea and a two-person company to a fast-growing company that’s gaining attention across the globe.

“In 2018 Norway went out and said that all of their domestic flights will be electric by 2040. And at the time there was no product that could meet this need. So, we thought that we could build it. It sounds a bit out there, as it’s a gigantic project,” said Klara Forslund, co-founder and chief business officer at Heart Aerospace in a recent pod episode of Business Göteborg. 

“We now have a team of 130 people from 26 different countries who have niche expertise within the aviation industry. We are also building new know-how in Gothenburg within aviation, which could also spread over to students at Chalmers, for example. So we are building up completely new expertise and competence around aircraft in Gothenburg,” said Klara Forslund.  

In September, the Gothenburg company announced its expansion plans. It presented a new battery driven regional plane for up to 30 passengers, new partners and investors, as well as a new campus at Gothenburg’s Säve Airport featuring offices, production and flight test facilities. It also said it will grow to around 500 people by 2025 and that it expects to deliver its first planes in 2028.   

“It is the most exciting thing that has happened for a long time [within the aviation industry]. I think we in Gothenburg should be extremely proud of their investment here. And Sweden and Europe should also be very proud,” said Charlotta Ljunggren, director of marketing and commercial business development at Swedish airport operator Swedavia, in a recent Business Göteborg pod episode.

 

A vision image of the Northern Runway.
Heart Aerospace plans on establishing the world’s first commercial electric aircraft industry at Säve Airport, in Gothenburg. Illustration: Heart Aerospace.

 

A driving force within sustainable development

For Gothenburg, the investment is good news in many respects. 

“Heart Aerospace’s expansion contributes with an important piece of the puzzle in the energy transition and environmental work within the transport system. It complements the region’s know-how within road and water transport in a very interesting way,” says Anne Piegsa, process leader for an electrified transport system at Business Region Göteborg. 

Gothenburg also improves its capacity to continue driving progress in the green transition.  

“It strengthens the region’s position, both locally and globally, as an important driving force within sustainable development, in particular in terms of electrified transport where we have built up an exceptionally strong ecosystem,” says Anne Piegsa.

Strengthens Gothenburg's tech cluster   

Gothenburg has become a hotspot for electrification with progressive brands including Volvo, Volvo Cars, Polestar, Einride, and Stena having their HQ and/or R&D activities here. Northvolt and Volvo Cars are also establishing a joint battery production plant and battery R&D centre in Gothenburg that will create over 3,000 jobs. The region’s ecosystem features, for example, the Swedish Electric Transport Laboratory and the Swedish Electromobility Centre, as well as one of Europe’s top technology universities, Chalmers.

The development around Heart Aerospace will further strengthen the region’s know-how, beyond the aviation industry, and create jobs in other industries, explains Kent Jellmund, investment advisor for ICT and Tech at Business Region Göteborg.

“Aircraft are technically very advanced. They involve high-level technology both in terms of hardware and software. Heart Aerospace’s expansion therefore means a lot for the development of our tech scene and will potentially lead to other companies investing in our region,” he says. 

“Apart from creating nearly 400 direct jobs in the first phase alone, it will generate hundreds of additional jobs in the region,” he adds.

We at Business Region Göteborg are facilitating the expansion and among other things have gathered relevant actors in the region, including Region Västra Götaland and Lindholmen Science Park, and packaged the region’s offer and benefits. 

Moving forward we will continue supporting not just Heart Aerospace’s expansion, but the entire ecosystem that is being established around electromobility. Business Region Göteborg’s Björn Gustafsson has been assigned as project leader for the establishment.  

“We are putting together a coordination function to support and help in different ways and get the deliveries from the City of Gothenburg in place so that the planned time frames can be kept. It concerns everything from zoning and permits to power supply, electricity and infrastructure - for prototype production, the development and test facility, and later even for full-scale production. Skills supply is also very important. Here we have an extraordinary and unique resource in the form of International House Gothenburg that provides support,” says Björn Gustafsson.

 

Did you know...

  • Gothenburg is ranked the most sustainable destination in the world (Global Destination Sustainability Index 2021).
  • The City of Gothenburg has ambitious Agenda 2030 goals and was chosen to take part in the EU mission on climate neutral cities 2030. 
  • Gothenburg Green City Zone was launched in 2021 – a zone where industry, academia and public authorities together test new technology for vehicles and infrastructure to foster emission-free transport by 2030. 

 

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