What a year it’s been! Over the first 12 months of Auto Futures, we have seen so much change, from reporting on ground-breaking innovations, speaking to mobility thought-leaders and attending exciting events that showcased the future of transportation.
Looking back, I wanted to highlight some key moments as we approach our first birthday. From Shanghai to LA, it’s certainly not been boring!
Auto Futures On the World Stage
This year kicked-off the new age of electric vehicles, as companies such as Porsche and Polestar aimed their sights at Tesla. However, China made sure to remind the Western World of its automotive presence, as many new companies started to introduce their brands into the market, capitalising on the region’s leading battery manufacturing plants and penetrating the traditional automotive sector. It’s been eventful, to say the least.
LA’s Consumer Electronics Show in January teased the world with new transport innovations, from autonomous technology to drones, changing the way people perceived auto shows. Today, many consider CES as the largest automotive event in the world, thanks to a number of global players dropping out of the more established motor shows to move into the tech age. The industry-shattering event was just the tip of the iceberg, foreshadowing what was to come over the course of the year.
Speaking of established events, Auto Futures was present at the Geneva Motor Show in March, talking with leading automotive brands and transport executives such as Pininfarina CEO Silvio Pietro Angori, who unveiled my personal car of the show, the fully-electric Battista. We also got to talk to Toni Piëch, the son of former Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piëch and the great-grandson of Porsche Founder Ferdinand Porsche.
We also partnered with Shift Automotive, the first-ever micro-event within the Geneva Motorshow – which was a great success!
In April, the team flew over to Asia to report on Auto Shanghai, which saw its biggest turnout yet, as companies from all over the world flocked in to showcase their products in the bustling region. We not only spoke with Chinese powerhouses such as Alibaba-backed Xpeng and new boys Bordrin, but also managed to catch up with some European automakers, including Citroën CEO Linda Jackson.
Fast forward to September and it was time for Europe’s largest auto show: IAA Frankfurt. With Auto Futures as an official partner to the VDA, the event didn’t disappoint, as we got the chance to talk to some of the most influential people in the market today, from Daimler Chairman Ola Källenius and Porsche CEO Oliver Blume, to Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller and Audi CEO Bram Schot. Not bad at all, if I do say so myself!
During the month, we also collaborated with AutoShift as part of IFA Berlin, where we interviewed global innovators, including Pixar’s Creative Director, Jay Ward, and Daimler’s Daniela Snyders. September was a busy one!
Finally, we had not one but two Auto Futures Live events, held at Thompson Reuters’ HQ in London, which brought together mobility pioneers and transport experts to discuss the development of smart cities and, more recently, the future of fuel. Both events stimulated discussion between a range of companies, from authorities and automakers to environmental experts and energy specialists. We’re already looking forward to our third event in the new year, so stay tuned.
Listen and Learn
Similar to the success of our shows, we also recorded two seasons of the Auto Futures Podcast, where we sat down with global mobility leaders to discuss the megatrends of tomorrow, today. It’s been great fun.
Following the success of the first season, we decided to partner with Boston Consulting Group to further analyse the major market shift over the last decade and the keys to success as the industry moves into the 2020s. Alongside our fantastic guests, we managed to drive thought-provoking discussions that will help change the future of mobility and transport on regional and global levels.
Speaking to the likes of Addison Lee, Turo, what3words, Arrival and Jaguar Land Rover’s InMotion, we managed to paint a picture of what to expect as we move into the most important decade yet, and also the challenges that we will face on the journey to a cleaner, safer and more efficient world.
Shameless plug: don’t forget to subscribe to Auto Futures to stay up to date with the latest news and insights from mobility pioneers and industry experts.
Face-to-Face with Mobility Mavens
Although we’ve covered most of the world in 2019, breaking news and reporting on events, it’s sometimes the slower moments that you appreciate more – when you get time to sit down with truly passionate people.
What makes this industry so special is the people within it, who will always have time to speak with you, illustrating their vision of the company, product or service. There isn’t any other sector like it.
For example, we got to meet with Brompton CEO Will Butler-Adams at the British manufacturer’s facility to understand the importance of micro-mobility and the creative mindset behind the iconic folding-bike brand. He was happy to not just talk about Brompton, but also the current state of UK manufacturing, which has come under fire in recent times.
Another British automaker-turned-technology specialist is Westfield. Known by most as a sports car manufacturer, the company, run by CEO Julian Turner, now also produces autonomous vehicles. He, like many in the region, believes that the UK is unparalleled in terms of innovation on the world stage and needs to be celebrated.
It was great to visit different facilities, including Getaround’s new UK office – when I got the chance to sit down with Katy Medlock!
Further afield, we also spoke to Lynk & Co CEO Alain Visser, to talk about how the Swedish-Chinese lifestyle brand is shaking up the automotive industry through a new way of thinking. In the era of mobility, where a new generation of consumers demand something fresh and exciting, it is vital that automakers look to break the mold. And that’s exactly what Visser and his team have done.
Finally, we had the chance to speak to one of the most talked-about players on the market today: NIO. China’s Tesla rival has smashed records with its EP9 hypercar, but NIO Vice President Hui Zhang says he wants to pursue innovative solutions that were once not possible, including advanced autonomous technology, battery-swapping systems and AI interfaces.
These are just some of the memorable moments we’ve had at Auto Futures this year. But, this is just the start. We’ve learned a lot, met some incredibly inspiring people and explored new regions; as we continue to grow, we’ve got a lot of exciting stuff to share with you in the new year…
So, from myself and the team, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!