Innovation Talk “The Road Ahead – The Future of Mobility”

Mobility is a highly debated topic in theory and practice, as trends such as sharing economy business models, vehicle automation and electric mobility intersect to paint diverse scenarios about the future. The four high-level panelists were Martin Essl, Head of Uber Austria, Vinzenz Karall, Product Marketing Manager at Iveco Austria, Marc Lang, Senior Vice President Sales and Business Development at TTTech Auto AG and Nikolaos Soulopoulos, Analyst at the Advanced Transport Office of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and contributed diverse knowledge to the interesting debate, ranging from studies of battery technology and fuel cell mobility to advanced software for autonomous driving.

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Under the moderation of Prof. W. H. Hoffmann, the discussion centered on which companies would emerge to capture value in the new scenarios, the role of energy suppliers and OEMs, the benefits of networks and ecosystems for new mobility models, fuels and infrastructures of the future as well as key policy frameworks needed for new mobility models to be adopted.

Nikolas Soulopoulos, Analyst of Bloomberg New Energy Finance (NEF), presented his research results on the development of electric vehicles and so-called intelligent mobility in the world:

The high potential that electric vehicles have is still hampered by high battery prices, calculated in monetary units per kWh. Once a certain threshold will be crossed, BNEF’S estimation being USD 100.00 per kWh, electric vehicle sales will rise significantly, which is supposedly the case by 2025.

As a representative of the commercial vehicle industry, Vinzenz Karall, Product Marketing Manager of Iveco Austria, provided an estimation on future driving concepts in this sector. In his view,

battery driven vehicles in urban areas and gas driven vehicles for longer distances are the most recent trend – in the short-term. In the longer-term view however, from 2030 on, hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles will start dominating the industry.

An introduction on the subject of self-driving cars, driving assistance systems and, thus, artificial intelligence, was given by Marc Lang, Senior Vice President Sales & Business Development Automotive of TTTech Auto AG. He stated that there is

much progress in research and development in the fields of autonomous driving and driving assistance systems. However, legislation nowadays prevents the use of such systems, also due to gaps in legislation.

Martin Essl, Head of Uber Austria, outlined Uber’s perspective on future mobility. As Uber’s aim is to offer a

reliable way of transport in the most efficient and an affordable way, the company regularly adds new mobility services to its portfolio, like e-scooter rental. Moreover, Uber is also active in the development of revolutionary technologies. In a few years’ time, it is the company’s aim to offer transportation services via flying shuttles. Uber actively reduces CO2 emissions, with a first step being made by introducing a fully electric car fleet in London.

The panel discussion showed the interdependence among the energy, vehicles and technology industry and, therefore, led to accordance among the discussants regarding future mobility visions.A quote stated at the end of the discussion by Prof. Werner Hoffmann met overall approval, from the discussants as well as from the audience:

“The last car ever built will be a sports car.” (Ferry Porsche)

The event was well attended by 65 participants from both sponsor companies, who were able to ask their own questions during the final Q&A session.