Driving Into The Future

September 2019 Decoding Technology Driving Future

The concepts and technology demonstrators of yesteryears are starting to become a reality with consumers. XEVs, empowered mobility (EM), autonomous vehicles, digitalisation, modular powertrains are all a reality for the millennials. They have transformed the industry, the consumer mindset and mobility ecosystem.

Empowered mobility is an opportune platform to provide a larger landscape to the consumer with multiple choices of powertrains, styling, features, speed and ranges. For the OEMs and service providers, it is also an avenue to gather data that helps conduct analytics to understand customer behaviour, understand trends, segmentation and helps them roll out relevant products and services in shorter timespans. The opportunity for value added services and digitalisation for the ‘data on the go’ consumers is exponential. With EM comes the much needed speed to market, since it is flexible to cater to different regions of the world that have different norms and regulations, and consumer needs.

On e-mobility, data shows that China is leading with about 55 % of the two million electric 4W vehicles, followed by the US around 20 % and then rest of the world. The global e-car market was at about five million units in 2018, grown by 40 % over 2017 sales. For Light Duty Vehicles, the number of chargers grew to more than five million. The e-2W market grew to more than 300 mn by end of 2018 and will grow significantly with the recent announcements in India.

Another study forecasts that in public transportation, e-buses will reach unsubsidised upfront cost parity with diesel buses by 2030. By then, battery packs will probably only account for 8 % of total e-bus price, down from around 26 % in 2016. Consequently, EV sales are projected to increase 10 fold by 2025. Sales will surge to 30 mn in 2030 through emerging countries, especially India and China.

CHALLENGES GALORE

With this sort of growth in e-mobility, the biggest challenge would be energy harmony and the enabling charging infrastructure. The amount of investments that will have to be made in future mobility to sustain this growth and demand in different parts of the world will be humongous. Studies have also forecast that the wind and solar energies are set to surge to a ratio of almost 50:50 and will be 50 % of world generation by 2050.

These projections are based on reductions in infra and operational costs, and the technological innovative evolution that will bring in cheaper batteries. This will have to be balanced between domestic demands, industries and transportation. Having said that, 700 mn people will still not have power by 2030, but, of the 35 % of new households that do, 10 % will use solar home systems and about 20 % will benefit from micro-grids, as per research data.

CHANGING DYNAMICS

Mobility is rapidly evolving from the vehicle ownership to a shared vehicle paradigm. This onset of shared mobility along with autonomous driving accentuates the need of smart, intelligent and safer systems to meet aspirations of consumers. In addition, the vehicles are connected to the ecosystem through V2X playfields that provide tremendous flexibility, simplicity and autonomous decision making.

The telescopic view of future mobility can only be driven by the trident of techno-economic drivers, regulators, and partnerships between stakeholders. The holistic innovation ecosystem will continue to be nurtured to ensure the right mobility solutions for driving into the future.