VDA’s 20th Technical Congress in Berlin – 800 participants from business, academia and politics – Europe’s most important meeting of automotive experts – Focus on e-mobility and digitization
“The ambitious air quality requirements in German cities can be met without vehicle bans. In 2017 the NO2 annual mean values fell markedly in many cities. Total nitrogen oxide emissions from road traffic are now 70 percent lower than they were in 1990. In the medium term the air quality issue will be resolved by the increasing penetration of the fleet by vehicles meeting new exhaust standards. In the short term, the measures involving the German automotive industry that were agreed at the diesel summit will reduce NO2 emissions in towns and cities,” stressed Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), at the beginning of the VDA’s 20th Technical Congress.
With over 800 participants from business, academia and politics, the Technical Congress taking place in Berlin on February 27 and 28, 2018, is the most important technology symposium in the automotive industry in Europe. Numerous high-ranking sector representatives are discussing key topics surrounding the mobility of the future. The event focuses on the areas of “Environment, energy and electric mobility” and “Vehicle safety and electronics.” Thirty-three exhibitors are also attending the most important specialist meeting in the automotive industry. Over 50 top-level representatives of the automotive sector will give talks at the congress, including Prof. Peter Gutzmer, Deputy CEO and Chief Technology Officer of Schaeffler AG, Dr. Ulrich Eichhorn, Head of Research and Development at the Volkswagen Group, Dr. Markus Heyn, member of the Board of Management at Robert Bosch GmbH, and Gunnar Herrmann, Chairman of the Management Board at Ford Werke GmbH.
State Secretary Rainer Bomba from the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure will deliver a welcome address.
VDA President Matthias Wissmann: “The German automotive industry is working constantly on further reducing the CO2 emissions of its vehicle fleet. We have made good progress. Since 2006, the CO2 emissions from newly registered passenger cars in Germany have already fallen by 27 percent. Modern diesel cars make a considerable contribution to CO2 reduction. Our manufacturers are also developing and building hybrid and electric vehicles. Furthermore, the German automotive industry is researching petroleum-independent ‘e-fuels’ that bind as much CO2 during their production as they release during combustion.”
Wissmann explained that to continue the same great progress in CO2 reduction as that already achieved, the market for e-vehicles would need to speed up. “That is a joint task for policymakers and industry; here our companies are putting the basic requirements in place: by 2020, they will treble their portfolio of electric vehicles to over 100 models. By 2025, electric cars are expected to account for 15 to 25 percent of new passenger car registrations. Today there are around 100,000 electric vehicles on Germany’s roads, and the number is clearly rising; the electric mobility ramp-up has begun,” Wissmann emphasized.
He added that the race to lead the autonomous and connected driving of the future was also in full swing. “We are pleased that the politicians are with us as we move into a new technological age. The coalition agreement envisages new legal regulations, both for fully autonomous Level 5 vehicles, and for new mobility services. In addition, consideration of the new mobility technologies will feed into the planning of the telecommunications networks. To avoid being left behind, we need a powerful mobile telephony system that provides total coverage and is dynamically available,” the VDA president demanded.
Prof. Peter Gutzmer, Deputy CEO and Chief Technology Officer of Schaeffler AG, said in his keynote speech: “The challenges concerning mobility for tomorrow require thinking in energy chains: the holistic view, from energy generation and distribution all the way to energy use. Recent studies show that in the future there will definitely be an energy mix, with the share of renewable energy rising rapidly. Fossil fuels will initially remain very important. Systemic thinking and ambidexterity – that is, the ability of organizations and companies to be simultaneously efficient and flexible – will be key factors determining success. Those who open up their thinking and change in good time will be successful. The new technologies also offer opportunities. It is a combination of disruption potential and growth potential.”
Dr. Ulrich Eichhorn, Head of Research and Development at the Volkswagen Group, stressed in his keynote address: “Electric mobility will either be the powertrain technology or one powertrain technology of the future. Today various technologies for series application already exist, many of them responses to segment-specific demands. And the realization of e-vehicles will also depend crucially on costs, range, the charging infrastructure and differing legal requirements in different parts of the world.”
Dr. Markus Heyn, member of Board of Management at Robert Bosch GmbH, emphasized in his keynote speech that “Connectivity fundamentally changes how we will travel and use means of transport in the future. It is the key to new digital mobility services, for example warning drivers about vehicles traveling in the wrong direction, using smartphones as car keys, or apps for bringing people together who want to share their journey to work or college. This will reduce the stress, emissions and accidents associated with mobility.”