The Frankfurt Motor Show first kicked off in 1951 and, since then, has seen countless automakers exhibit thousands of new vehicles under the IAA’s roof. But in 2011, the show welcomed a new era of transport with its ‘hall of electric mobility,’ which was followed by ‘automation’ in 2013 and other exciting mobility events in the succeeding years.
The arrival of these micro-events opened up the automotive industry’s eyes to what innovations were on the horizon, from connected technology and electrification to mobility services and future trends.
Fast forward to 2019, and New Mobility World is readying up for the show’s largest event yet, hosting a live panel throughout the week at the IAA. I sat down with Dirk Evenson, Director IAA Conference and New Mobility World, to find out what’s in store.
“The goal of New Mobility World is to talk about new topics and technologies with a host of new and incumbent players in the industry,” says Evenson. “I think an event like this is used as a platform for mobility, bringing companies and experts together to discuss the evolving ecosystem.”
He says that, until recently, it was difficult for mobility-driven companies to present at the Frankfurt Motor Show as, most of the time, they didn’t have a physical product to show and certain goals had not been defined. For Evenson, it all comes down to creating a dialogue between automakers, technology giants, authorities and new innovative companies.
“There is a huge shift going on today, so we want to bring together manufacturers, cities, startups and societies to foster new relationships and projects across the world. 2019 is much further advanced than 2011, which will continue to be the case for years to come.”
In 2011, there weren’t many people actively involved in what we now call the New Mobility World which, looking back, is hard to believe. We are finally seeing the shift within the automotive world – and it’s no longer just about the car.
The Tipping Point
2019 could be seen as the tipping point for future transport, as technology, political and societal trends start to converge. This has birthed new ideologies within the industry, thanks to the intertwining of technology.
“The progress that we have seen over the last two years has really shown the acceleration and all of these technologies and trends, which are being transferred towards the core of each companies’ business model or even creating new spin-offs,” says Evenson
We are finally seeing established players in the new mobility field, which is something that we haven’t seen before. More importantly, consumers are getting used to mobility solutions such as car-sharing and micro-mobility. What’s more, established players such as BMW and Daimler are heavily involved in this shift – who recently joined forces in a new mobility partnership – as well as an influx of startups that are changing the way we move.
“Just look at Uber,” adds Evenson, “they are now considered as an ‘old’ player in the mobility market, with companies like Bird coming into the industry,” adds Evenson. “Within two years, micro-mobility has really arrived on our streets but, because we didn’t really anticipate it, we need to address new problems.”
This is just the beginning of this shift as we move into the 2020s; there will be more players and technologies involved. However, this means that the industry needs to focus on new issues arising, such as security and regulations for these new transport solutions.
“Mobility-as-a-service has really transformed urban transport around the world and has created a lot of noise, but I think you have to focus on how to make it as efficient and enjoyable as possible for consumers, who will ultimately decide who wins and who loses.”
We are now starting to see serious business and use cases for consumers in cities and beyond. People are now talking about real, efficient solutions rather than having their head stuck in the clouds.
Evenson believes that, in terms of having an impact across the board for the movement of people, the next few years will present some dramatic changes.
“We are breaking ground with new solutions and we are seeing regulations being introduced to support the rollout of them. Companies are having to be responsive and anticipate how they want to work alongside lawmakers to push out products in a safe and efficient manner.”
It is a very different world to previous years, which has seen progression stall within the progression of the mobility industry. So much so, that Evenson is hopeful that New Mobility World’s title will become obsolete in the next few years when these revolutionary technologies will become “just mobility.”
“This retro-futuristic vision, imported from the 60s, where people imagined flying cars from The Jetsons. Now, we are seeing that the car will no longer play a focal or defining point of new mobility. Of course, cars are going to be electric, but they will be shared and integrated into many different modes of transport.”
Going forward, we will change the way that we look at transport, which will be the main focus at New Mobility World. So, when you’re walking through the IAA this year, don’t be too surprised when you see Microsoft, IBM and Facebook. The market is changing, and so are the players.
“If you want to see the future, then you’ve come to the right place,” says Evenson. “For example, when was the last time you went to a motor show and saw the CEO of IBM and the Prime Minister of Luxemburg?”
He has a point.
With over 200 experts coming together to discuss the future of mobility at the heart of the world’s largest auto event, this year’s New Mobility World is not to be missed.