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Green Solutions to the Auto Crisis

Photo by Uichan under CC License

From Auto Makers to Mobility Service Providers

The automotive industry is not only suffering from the economic downturn, it has also been in a structural crisis for some time. Overcapacity and years of ignoring medium and long-term challenges such as climate change, the finite nature of fossil fuel resources and the fading symbolic value of cars in urban areas are contributing to the industry’s troubles. It will not be possible to stay the course. Government props such as lax emissions limits, the nature of vehicle taxes, the privileged status of company cars in Germany and the overeager provision of bailouts have all contributed to the structural crisis. The diagnosis is utterly clear: we not only need different cars, but also a new understanding of automobility. The industry isn’t finished, but a fundamental transformation will be crucial for its survival. Governments must also create new, forward-looking legislative frameworks to that end.

In future, traffic in the world’s urban centers will be different from what we know. Unparalleled qualities of use could arise if utility companies, public transportation authorities and the automotive industry were to join forces: all of the forms of transportation needed in day-to-day life would be powered by electricity and provided to users as a single integrated service. That presupposes a change in perspective, however. Alternative drive technologies alone are not enough – the focus must be on comprehensive mobility concepts for urban regions. A wealth of innovations is conceivable – not only new technologies, but also lucrative supplementary services and genuinely groundbreaking new applications. E-mobility is thus a formula for a new, technically sophisticated dimension of utility that will render the concept of mobility based on vehicle ownership a relic of the past. The value creation of intermodal urban e-mobility not only encompasses the vehicle hardware itself, but also traffic services and the provision and storage of energy from renewable sources. Catering to such comprehensive e-mobility will become a leading market worldwide.

Contents

Summary

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Contents

1 Crisis as opportunity? A turnaround in automobile use
Big loses, small wins
A temporary lull in sales?

2 The auto industry: an economic or structural crisis?
A fresh impetus for alternative drives: the state of the art
Electric mobility – déjà vu or the base of a learning curve?

3 Automobility 2.0: The “green car” as an element of sustainable mobility
The integrated public vehicle in urban areas
The regulatory framework for tomorrow’s mobility
The next steps

Summary

The automotive industry is not only suffering from the economic downturn, it has also been in a structural crisis for some time. Overcapacity and years of ignoring medium and long-term challenges such as climate change, the finite nature of fossil fuel resources and the fading symbolic value of cars in urban areas are contributing to the industry’s troubles. It will not be possible to stay the course. Government props such as lax emissions limits, the nature of vehicle taxes, the privileged status of company cars in Germany and the overeager provision of bailouts have all contributed to the structural crisis. The diagnosis is utterly clear: we not only need different cars, but also a new understanding of automobility. The industry isn’t finished, but a fundamental transformation will be crucial for its survival. Governments must also create new, forward-looking legislative frameworks to that end.
In future, traffic in the world’s urban centers will be different from what we know. Unparalleled qualities of use could arise if utility companies, public transportation authorities and the automotive industry were to join forces: all of the forms of transportation needed in day-to-day life would be powered by electricity and provided to users as a single integrated service. That presupposes a change in perspective, however. Alternative drive technologies alone are not enough – the focus must be on comprehensive mobility concepts for urban regions. A wealth of innovations is conceivable – not only new technologies, but also lucrative supplementary services and genuinely groundbreaking new applications. E-mobility is thus a formula for a new, technically sophisticated dimension of utility that will render the concept of mobility based on vehicle ownership a relic of the past. The value creation of intermodal urban e-mobility not only encompasses the vehicle hardware itself, but also traffic services and the provision and storage of energy from renewable sources. Catering to such comprehensive e-mobility will become a leading market worldwide.

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