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Automotive leaders and startup join forces to explore the use of low-emission material in vehicles

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

At MobilityXlab, CEVT, Polestar and Volvo Group will collaborate with Swedish startup Reselo to test possible applications of rubber produced from tree bark in the automotive industry. The project is also being joined by Volvo Cars. 

Josefin Larsson, CTO at Reselo, presents at MobilityXlab

Josefin Larsson, co-founder and CPO at Reselo, presents the startups and the product at MobilityXlab. Image credit: Lindholmen Science Park 

In a groundbreaking initiative, automotive leaders CEVT, Polestar and Volvo Group will collaborate on a proof-of-concept project with Reselo, a Swedish startup that uses birch bark to produce a low-emission alternative to rubber. The aim is to collectively explore possible applications of the more sustainable material in the production of vehicles.  

The co-creation project, which will be facilitated by MobilityXlab, is also joined by Volvo Cars, one of the founding companies of the collaboration platform. The relationship between all the parties started in January 2023, when Reselo joined MobilityXlab as part of Batch 10. Hosted by Lindholmen Science Park, the startup acceleration program focuses on promoting structured collaboration between emerging companies and leaders in the mobility sector. 

The joint effort marks a significant step forward in the automotive industry's commitment to low and zero-emission products. As mobility becomes increasingly electrified and reduces the dependency on fossil fuels, the challenge now lies in further exploring and developing new materials, like polymers and elastomers, with reduced greenhouse gas emissions.  

The rubber developed by Reselo, founded in 2020 in Halmstad, Sweden is manufactured entirely from birch bark, a byproduct of the forestry industry. This elastomer utilizes 100% biomass residue, offering a more sustainable alternative to fossil-based counterparts. 

A different approach to driving innovation 

The collaboration goes beyond the traditional business landscape. As the companies work collectively on the project instead of doing individual tests and validations, they will get access to a broader pool of learnings and best-practices and reduce the risks and costs normally associated with running innovation projects. 

Katarina Brud, director of MobilityXlab, explains that this is one of the hallmarks of the program. “The core of what we do goes beyond simply matchmaking startups and corporates. It’s offering a neutral arena, along with structured collaboration processes, so that our partners can come together and tackle complex innovation questions together. That increases the potential of competitive gains for the startups, our partners, as well as the unique automotive and transportation ecosystem we are right in the heart of here in West Sweden,” she says. 

To Reselo, the collaboration means access to a new industry vertical for their products. “To engage in projects with global corporates is crucial for us and the dynamic between small and large companies has proven to be a great foundation for acceleration and realization of innovation, a true win-win." says Josefin Larsson, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer at Reselo. 

The project is supported by Vinnova’s Accelerate Startup Partnership, an effort within the Vehicle Strategic research and Innovation (FFI) program.