IAA Mobility 2023: The shaping of Future Mobility
AFRY's Automotive expert Johan Andinsson shares valuable insights
I can't resist sharing my thoughts on the incredible IAA Mobility event of 2023. After an exhilarating week in Munich, I'm feeling inspired and overwhelmed. The automotive industry community was alive and buzzing with both familiar faces and new connections.
So, what did I take away?
2. Sustainability everywhere
3. Innovation (Battery breakthroughs)
You can read on for a deeper dive into the topics, but here are my three takeaways:
- Industry convergence. The future of the automotive industry is being shaped by the convergence of technology and customer experience. Tier 1 suppliers are envisioning a future where autonomous vehicles offer a seamless journey experience, with tech giants Qualcomm, AWS, Samsung, and JP Morgan making their mark in the sector, indicating a strong convergence with other industries.
- Sustainability holds a central position on the industry's agenda. CEOs of major OEMs, including Thomas Ingenlath from Polestar, are actively involved in discussions aimed at addressing climate change. Automakers are visibly demonstrating their commitment through the utilization of recycled and bio-based materials, initiatives for battery recycling, and the exploration of future E-fuels.
Innovation (Battery breakthroughs). The industry is exploring innovative solutions in different areas, from simplifying charging experiences to introducing in-car XR entertainment. The quest for the best battery technology is ongoing, and initiatives like the TUM hyperloop pod represent exciting possibilities for the future of mobility.
The driving forces: CX, Sustainability and monetising services
Tier 1 suppliers like Webasto, Valeo, and Continental are envisioning a future where autonomous vehicles redefine the customer experience. Picture this: You step into your vehicle in Munich, and it transforms into a rolling living room that seamlessly becomes a bedroom, offering a top-notch travel experience. Polestar and NIO are working to merge vehicle and smartphone platforms to enhance this journey further. Similarly, initiatives like Mercedes Me and Chat GTP with a voice assistant are set to elevate the overall experience. Keep an eye out for the integration of Generative AI in cars; it's on the horizon.
As the leading automotive design supplier in the Nordic region, AFRY has been at the forefront of innovation programs at CEVT for the past four years. We have also been a partner in developing the AI tool Flowity. assessed a complete Mobility Ecosystem Solution for NEVS and the electric car "NEVS Emily".
Our journey involves shaping future mobility scenarios, exploring innovative and sustainable solutions, and meticulously crafting blueprints for monetisation within emerging business models. Over the past decade, we've dedicated nearly a million development hours to advance ADAS technology R&D, supported by an additional half a million research hours.
Designing Light and Sound
One standout moment was a stage discussion featuring Robert Dolton from AFRY Experience Studios, Paul Traynor from Light Bureau (part of AFRY), Patrick Jordan-Patrikios from our client ForSeven, and James McLachlan from Car Design News. They explored how designing light and sound enhances the automotive Customer Experience (CX) and strengthens brand identity, captivating the audience.
Within the realm of Automotive CX, two dynamic frontiers are constantly evolving: lighting and sound. To fully harness the potential of these elements in defining brand identity, car designers must broaden their horizons. This is where the expertise of Paul, Rob, and Patrick comes into play.
These industry experts draw inspiration and insights from the worlds of architecture and music, offering invaluable lessons for our field. They illuminate the path to creating innovative interior environments, establishing effective communication with both drivers and passengers, and crafting a comprehensive auditory experience. This auditory journey encompasses everything from subtle seatbelt reminder chimes to the thunderous resonance of engine notes.
AFRY's experts in lighting design and architecture are well-prepared to explore the intricate facets of lighting and sound design for in-car experiences. We bring a wealth of informed perspectives, practical experiences, and compelling case studies. For example, we've crafted captivating lighting settings for Balenciaga's flagship stores during a brand repositioning initiative and redefined the customer experience at Lotus Cars by revolutionising soundscapes and interior designs for a new generation of automotive models.
Notable players like Qualcomm, AWS, Samsung, and now JP Morgan are making their mark in the automotive sector, signalling a strong convergence with other industries.
Software Defined Vehicles have captivated the attention of industry giants such as Qualcomm, Huawei, and Intel, ushering in a transformative shift in the supplier landscape. This evolution entails a move away from traditional component suppliers towards solution and platform providers. It empowers digital-first approaches and facilitates direct-to-consumer business models, setting the stage for data-driven decision-making and the generation of customer-centric solutions.
With the integration of connected wearable devices, the possibilities are boundless. We can tailor bespoke solutions to cater to your needs during your daily commute, provide support in times of distress, or offer mindful technologies for enhanced well-being. The potential for innovative business opportunities in these domains is abundantly clear, explaining why industry giants are flocking to this sector.
Seamless charging experiences
The industry is keen on simplifying the charging process for end users. Key figures like Michael Halbherr from ABB e-mobility, Stefan von Dobschütz from BP pulse, Tanya Sinclair from ChargePoint, and Michael Hajesch from IONITY came together for a panel discussion, highlighting the importance of collaboration and a "get it done" approach. Porsche, Audi, and Mercedes also showcased their charging hubs and initiatives like Green Charging and pre-booking.
All of this is driven by the opportunities arising in the world of seamless customer experiences, supported by services enabled by connected intelligence. AFRY has been at the forefront of this journey, actively involved in exploring new mobility payment systems and pioneering car-as-wallet solutions since 2019. Our solutions focus on creating a unified payment system that seamlessly works both inside and outside the vehicle throughout the entire customer journey.
We've worked closely with OEMs like CEVT (Geely), developing robust charging infrastructure and cloud solutions in collaboration with connectivity partners. Additionally, we've played a crucial role in helping oil, energy, and automotive companies strategise and build extensive charging networks.
Furthermore, we've shared our expertise with charge point operators, conducting comprehensive traffic analysis and forecasting charging demand for a portfolio of 1,200 HPC stations across Germany.
Sustainability was a prominent theme, with CEOs like Thomas Ingenlath from Polestar passionately addressing climate change mitigation in their keynotes. Automakers showcased recycled and bio-based materials in their displays, emphasising their commitment to combatting climate change. For instance, Mercedes Benz discussed their battery recycling facilities in the US, EU, and China as part of their ambitious 2039 program, while Porsche led discussions on future E-fuels.
At the event, "Designing the Future of Mobility", the spotlight was on CMF (Color, Material, Finish) as leaders emphasised the importance of selecting materials with a circular economy and low CO2 footprint in mind.
In the realm of immediate sustainability solutions, our CMF team is at the forefront. We collaborate closely with OEMs to establish guidelines for sustainable material selection and to develop sustainability strategies, contributing to a greener and more responsible automotive industry.
Innovation; Battery breakthroughs
The pursuit of better battery technology continues, with CATL's Sodium-ion battery breakthrough catching our attention. CATL claims that their new EV batteries offer similar performance to current batteries but at a significantly lower cost.
The sodium-ion battery, a lithium-ion analog, presents a compelling case for cost-effectiveness, environmental sustainability, and supply chain resilience. It requires fewer rare and expensive materials, such as lithium and copper, and offers a wider operating temperature range and more stable chemistry in the negative anode, promising enhanced reliability.
However, a notable drawback is their lower specific capacity, about two-thirds that of traditional lithium-ion batteries. Nonetheless, this is offset by the expected lower price point. In the automotive industry, sodium-ion batteries may initially find use in shorter-range EVs or PHEVs and as stationary energy storage solutions within charging infrastructure.
Notably, there has been a discernible shift in the production focus of upcoming Gigafactories. Initially dominated by nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) chemistries, there is now a near-even split between NMC and iron-phosphate chemistries (LFP). The choice of battery chemistry and its associated implications are areas where AFRY is actively engaged. This extends beyond the civil and process works of several Gigafactories. Within the battery manufacturing process, AFRY closely monitors progress and collaborates on various promising production techniques aimed at reducing energy consumption and chemical usage.
IAA Mobility 2023 has been an incredible journey, offering valuable insights into the future of mobility. With technology and sustainability at the forefront, we witness the industry rapidly evolving. AFRY is proud to be a part of this transformation, collaborating with our partners to shape a more sustainable and innovative future for mobility. Ahead, we anticipate challenges but also opportunities to continue driving progress toward a greener, technology-driven mobility landscape. The journey continues, and we eagerly anticipate the developments that lie ahead.