Metropolises and medium-sized cities alike are preparing for the future by upgrading their mobility concepts. With the help of the BMW Group and other companies, the Swiss town of Zug is now becoming a smart city.
The town of Zug is in many respects what people imagine to be an alpine paradise. Situated at the edge of the Swiss mountains, it features two lakes, wonderful cherry trees and a medieval town centre with a high quality of life. A landmark is the Zyttum, which offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding countryside. But Zug also has a lively and bustling town centre. Low corporate taxes and a well-educated population have made the town of 120,000 inhabitants attractive for business and industry.
The company V-Zug is also located here. Right in the middle of town, it produces household appliances such as washing machines, stoves, refrigerators and extractor hoods. Demand is so high that the company, which currently employs around 1,200 people, intends to grow significantly. The only question is how, as space is limited. The only possible solution is to build upwards and relocate new production facilities to a multi-storey building – and this is what is happening. However, this does not solve one important problem: How is the workforce, which is likely to grow threefold, supposed to get to work without burdening the city with more traffic?
A consortium of four companies is currently working with Zug on a solution. Their idea is to turn the town into a smart city. And it will be a template for all the other medium-sized cities in Switzerland that want to get their increasing traffic problems under control with the help of electromobility and digitisation. In addition to V-Zug, the consulting firm Deloitte, the technology group SAP and the BMW Group are working intensively on implementing the vision of a "data-driven and sustainable city of the future". The first signs of success are now emerging.
“The transformation of Zug into a smart city involves almost all public domains such as health, local government or facility and energy management. Above all, however, our consortium has already made significant progress in the area of future mobility,” explains Vanessa Reiser, New Mobility and Digital Services specialist at BMW Schweiz AG. Some of them will already be “on the streets” in autumn this year.
The key element here is V-Zug’s new building and the expected increase in the number of employees, most of whom will commute. In addition to production facilities and service buildings for research institutes and start-ups, a smart multi-storey car park is to be built. The BMW Group will provide 30 BMW i3s for this purpose. And these e-vehicles can and should be used in two ways: “V-Zug employees can use them in the evening for the journey home and in the morning for the journey to work. During the day, they are then available to all residents and tourists in public car sharing schemes,” says Reiser. In order to make the best possible use of the BMW i3s and other vehicles, additional “carpooling” schemes will be set up. For example, commuters who have a similar route or residents who are planning a shopping trip can share a vehicle. This not only saves energy, but also space on the roads. An intelligent parking management system throughout Zug will make parking faster and more convenient.
All service offerings will be coordinated via a platform developed by SAP, which will integrate further mobility options step by step. This includes, for example, an optimal combination of cars, e-bikes or e-scooters with suggestions for routes, parking and public transport. All services for sustainable and convenient mobility can be conveniently used via app. In parallel to these and other mobility offerings, additional services such as health care, local government, energy management and reporting are gradually being integrated. The necessary infrastructure including databases, sensors in public spaces and intelligent networks is already being planned.