ADAC’s annual meeting in Dresden: Shape the new world of mobility in dialog with cities – OEMs and suppliers offer wide range of mobility services
“The German vehicle makers and suppliers will continue making road traffic even safer, more efficient and more comfortable. To this end, over the coming three to four years they will be investing 16 to 18 billion euros in connected and automated driving. They hold about half of the patents issued anywhere in the world since 2010 for connected and automated driving,” said Bernhard Mattes, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), at the annual meeting of the German ADAC automobile club in Dresden.
In the future, Mattes explained, autonomous cars would be able to find their own way in a parking garage and maneuver themselves into and out of parking spots without a driver. This would save around two square meters of space per car, so a car park could accommodate about 2.5-times as many vehicles as at present. “Cities long ago developed into testing grounds for new traffic technologies and new mobility offers. Manufacturers and suppliers see themselves increasingly as providers of extensive mobility services. Car-sharing, e-scooter sharing, mobility platforms and mobility-apps are offerings that are already available and go far beyond the classical business of the automotive industry,” Mattes said.
However, he continued, some promising new mobility concepts in Germany were still coming up against regulatory hurdles too quickly. “Here the politicians must come up with new policies, as announced in the coalition agreement. The German Passenger Transportation Act, for instance, still concentrates too much on transport using taxis, buses and trains. It has to be made more flexible. Often it takes too long to obtain a permit. It is our common task, especially in dialog with the towns and cities, to join in shaping the new world of mobility to establish the right regulatory conditions,” the VDA president explained. It was important to involve people in the implementation of innovative mobility concepts. The traffic and environment problems would not be resolved by banning vehicles, Mattes said, but with attractive offers of mobility.
He added, “Digitization will depend crucially on the infrastructure. The coalition agreement promises a ‘digital infrastructure with full coverage’ and ‘mobile telephony everywhere.’ We all know that we are still a long way from these goals. But it is good that the politicians are recognizing what they have to do here.”
When it came to electric mobility, Mattes said, the German automotive industry was in a very good position. By 2020 the German OEMs would treble their portfolio of e-models to around 100. “The charging infrastructure, however, will remain a challenge. The automotive industry is pushing forward with further expansion. Daimler, BMW, VW and Ford are installing a rapid charging network on European freeways. Yet policymakers also need to act. An international comparison illustrates the need for action: Berlin has 0.22 charging points for every 1,000 inhabitants, compared with 2.1 in Oslo and 2.5 in Amsterdam,” Mattes stated. It was good that the Government was tackling this topic energetically.
Speaking to more than 200 delegates from the ADAC’s 18 independent regional clubs, the VDA president also mentioned the pledges given by the German OEMs at the diesel summit in 2017. “We are updating the software, offering trade-in bonuses for older diesel vehicles, and making a major contribution to the German Government’s mobility fund. Hardware retrofits have two disadvantages: it takes time to develop and approve them, plus they drive up consumption and would therefore also noticeably increase CO2 emissions.” That had been shown by tests carried out by the ADAC, he added.
“Even if the current debates suggest otherwise, the air in Germany is better now than ever before. From 1990 to 2015, traffic-related NOx emissions fell by 70 percent – despite rising mileages. At present, there are roughly 20 towns and cities with values still far above the limits. Simulations show that by 2020 – with the exception of five to six hotspots – all measuring points will record values below the limits. And there are certainly positive examples indicating possible paths forward. These could be intelligent traffic lights in Ingolstadt, revised traffic management in Erfurt or a combination of adapted parking times, the ‘green wave’ and a 40 km/h speed limit in Stuttgart, but all of them are effective and have been shown to reduce the release of NO2,” Mattes said.