Electromobility in Megacities
By Jovin Hurry
Held earlier this November as part of the Singapore International Energy Week 2013 (SIEW) at the Marina Bay Sands Expo in Singapore, the SIEW ThinkTank Roundtables were short and intensive sessions, fielded by a moderator, and designed to involve a small cohort of participants engaging in debate and progressing their priorities in extended discussion. They made excellent venues for giving and receiving targeted feedback and for meeting like-minded industry peers in in-depth debate on case studies.
Given the car density in Singapore, Green Business Singapore sat in the Roundtable on “Electromobility in Megacities – Vehicle Concepts & Technology, Policy & Infrastructure, and Business Opportunities” that featured an excellent Panel of speakers. They were Andreas Allebrod, Drive-carsharing GmbH; Erez Schreiber, Head of Energy and Power Department, Elbit Systems Land and C4I Division, Israel; Jan Ehlen, Head of Governmental Affairs Office for Southeast Asia, BMW Group; Jerry Ang, Co-founder, Skev Motors; Lim Say Leong, Assistant Vice President for Marketing (Discrete Automation Motion Division), ABB Pte Ltd; Manuel Chaufrein, Vice President Sales and Business Development, Induct Technology; Nenad Markovic, Argonne National Lab; and Stefan Büchele, Cluster Electric Mobility.
Electromobility is widely acknowledged to have the potential to promote carbon neutral and environmentally friendly transportation concepts for the 21st century. Besides helping reduce harmful emissions in our cities, Electric Vehicle technologies will create a new paradigm for design, vehicle and component manufacturing, and infrastructure development worldwide.
Vehicles have to be fundamentally redesigned and a large number of components have to be significantly re-invented for this kind of propulsion. Furthermore new business models, policy as well as infrastructural considerations would be needed to capitalize on the business opportunities that Electromobility could present to the Megacities of Asia and beyond.
Once this backdrop was set and over two hours, the speakers provided an overview, as well as expert comments and discussions about the trends and roadmaps as well as opportunities and challenges in a wide variety of domains, in particular: New Vehicle Concepts for Electromobility in Megacities and Technology Pathways; New Concepts in Autonomous Driving, Car-sharing, Hybrids and Full Electric Vehicles; Policy Considerations to Spur Sustainable Transportation; Charging and Commerce Infrastructure, Development of Standards; Public Acceptance Perception, Understanding Customer Demands, and Analyzing Total Costs of Ownership; and New Business Opportunities in Electromobility Supply Chain, Components Innovation, Public Transport, Logistics, and related e-commerce.
Here’s a quick digest from the discussion:
The automobile industry is changing as it adapts to consumer demands. Some driving factors are environmental changes, increase in urbanisation, and changes in politics, economy, regulation, cultural and consumer expectations.
Companies are asking for a wide range of incentives, not only monetary.
There is a slow shift from ownership to usage for cars.
It is important to have a holistic view of the mobility landscape. Partner up to share knowledge. Stay authentic to your roots.
Ask tough and relevant questions, e.g. What is the type of user behaviour do we wish to see?”, or “What is in the mind of Electric Vehicle owners?” or “How will driverless mobility affect our lifestyle?”
Safety remains a top issue for driverless cars.
The sale is not about the car. It is the full solution, the convenience.
Measure the cost-effectiveness on the lifetime of the vehicle, not only on the initial cost.
Singapore is a good testbed for new modes of transportation.
New modes of transportation will be soon connected through networks and among themselves.