To conciliate ecology and growth, carmakers are banking on services

“There is an explosion of services around mobility, in which car manufacturers will play a role, but not alone. […] We need to expand our ecosystem” explained Carlos Ghosn, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi‘s CEO, on the stage of “Tomorrow in Motion”, the exclusive gathering held before the opening of the Mondial.Tech to the public.

Located in the Hall 7.3 of the 2018 Mondial de l’Auto, Mondial.Tech perfectly illustrates the evolution of the automotive sector towards more digitalized services and a more open ecosystem: actors as diverse as Transdev, Nokia, Faurecia or Altran exhibit alongside more than sixty startups from all over the world, focusing on the topics of cyber-security, connectivity, ecology or mobility services.

Among the many topics discussed during the first days of Mondial.Tech, the challenge for transport and mobility stakeholders to conciliate ecological imperatives and economic development. Transportation means and the infrastructures they depend on are fundamental elements of the attractiveness of territories, and a condition for economic growth, while also being significant sources of pollution. But, as Carlos Tavares, Chairman of Groupe PSA said during “Tomorrow in Motion”: “we can not use the argument of protecting the planet to ask countries not to develop.

The electrification of fleets, the connectivity of vehicles and the development of autonomous cars could help solve that equation. However, according to William Levassor, Autonomous Transport Systems Deputy Director of Transdev, the solution will not be solely technological: “it’s not these technologies as such that will make the automobile more sustainable.” He added, “If we want to build a sustainable model in the coming decade, we need to better manage the fleets of vehicles, by integrating technologies and making sure people use the services we offer. It is above all a question of economic model.”

Manufacturers have clearly taken into account the issue: to find the models of tomorrow’s mobility services, they are experimenting all over the world, by the mean of local partnerships that, depending on the case, involve local authorities, public transport operators, startups, OEMs and / or telecom operators.

We know that sharing is the future of mobility, but so far no one has solved the equation between what people want and what cities are willing to put on the table. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for all situations” said Jean Christophe Labarre, Director, Innovation & Alliance Venture Partnerships (Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi).

In France, Renault and Transdev have been conducting an ambitious autonomous vehicle experiment in Rouen since June 2018. Four Renault Zoe are available on demand over a three-kilometer loop with no dedicated track. The sensors of the vehicle and the wifi terminals at the edge of roads allow to remotely monitor their good circulation, within the control center which already manages the city’s lights and tramways. In China, PSA Group announced the launch of its Free2Move service: a car-sharing solution with 300 electric vehicles, designed in partnership with Dongfeng and the city of Wuhan.

We are rethinking mobility as a service, not just a as product” explained Eric Feunteun, Renault’s Director of Electric Vehicle and Car Sharing Program. A revolution that will have implications for the entire automotive value chain, from production to user experience.

Benoit Zante, Hub Institute

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