8 sep 21

IAA Mobility: this is what will shape your Fleet tomorrow

The proof of a new concept lies in the eating. Clearly, the Bavarian recipe needs some seasoning, as visitors to the IAA Mobility in Munich will acknowledge. Still, it shows what’s cooking in the industry’s kitchen and brings out the flavours that will determine our mobility palette over the next years.

1. Circularity.

In order to reduce CO2 emissions, we have to look further than what comes out of the tailpipe. Especially in the case of BEVs, the mining of raw materials, the supply chain and the production of the car has a great impact on the planet. That is why manufacturers like BMW (with the Circular concept car) and Volkswagen (with the ID Life) are now shifting their focus to circularity. The idea is to only use materials that have had a previous life and create vehicles that are nearly 100% recyclable. That means that the materials themselves need to become ‘mono’-materials rather than composites – which are hard to separate – and that the components of a car have to be easy to dismantle, so they can be recycled and reused.

2. Genre fluidity.

As exemplified by Microlino microcar, the BMW I Vision Amby speed-pedelec-meets-motorbike and the Pal-V flying car, both legacy OEMs and start-ups are exploring ways to break the boundaries between vehicle categories in a bid to create something that is adaptive or multifunctional. The Amby is a crossover between an e-bike and a motorbike that limits its top speed depending on the environment and your driver’s licence, making use of geofencing and smartphone connectivity. The same technology could be used for the Microlino, which finally reaches production stage and is destined to become a hipster shared vehicle. The main obstacle is likely to be of an administrative nature, as new vehicle types that do not fit in the existing boxes require new laws.

3. Highly automated driving.

Level 3 automated driving is technically feasible on roads with a straightforward infrastructure, such as highways. Mercedes-Benz will offer this as an optional extra on the EQS, albeit with a top speed that is limited to 60 kph. It will be just a matter of time before the technology trickles down to the lower vehicle segments and become widely available, while extending its capabilities as the system becomes smarter and learns to better cope with more challenging road situations. The biggest hurdle will be the rewriting of traffic laws. The EU member states have to create a framework that enables car drivers to let go of the steering wheel and that determines who is responsible in case anything goes wrong.

Authored by: Dieter Quartier