Mobility Predictions 2021 – Insights from Thought Leaders


by Nicoletta Moss

Photo by Duminda Perera on Unplash

This week the Global Thought Leader Prediction for Mobility 2021 was released by Electronomous – The International Mobility Summit. There is mutual consent that Electrification is a done deal, step by step car ownership will be replaced with other mobility modes, autonomous cars will be soon part of our city picture. COVID-19 is a turning point in many aspects – the mind-set being one of them, including the awareness of climate change. City planning, build-up of infrastructure and an active role of the regulator will be very important.

These are some interesting ideas and predictions by experts in the field.

· David Coleman Director Global Automotive Practice for Deloitte is looking forward to a key battle in Mobility which will play out between OEMs and tech giants to 1) own more of the mobility value chain, 2) control the customer’s end-to-end experience, and 3) access and monetize the customer’s profile and usage data.

· Christof Schminke, Managing Director Commercial from Trafi, has his key focus on MaaS: not only the big cities will be offering this service for the Masses, but Small and Medium sized cities will follow suit.

· Dr. Timo Möller, Partner at Head of McKinsey Center for Future Mobility predicts that over the next decade, the changes in consumer preferences, technology and regulations will contribute to major mobility shifts. Despite the pandemic, many

companies have continued to invest in disruptive mobility technologies, including autonomous technology, connectivity, EVs, and other areas. Consumers will have greater access to innovations.

· Rob Fowler, Chief Executive Officer of Volta Trucks sees an acceleration in mainstream awareness of global warming and air pollution and, vitally importantly, a willingness not to just talk positively then procrastinate, but to take action.

· Augustin Friedel a well-known shared mobility expert has three main predictions for this year: 1) Shared micromobility is on the rise, 2) Subscription as new form of leasing and 3) Continued Electrification.

· Dr. Florian Baumann, CTO (Specializing in Automotive & AI) at Dell Technologies Unstructured Data Solutions outlook is that in 2021, Automotive companies are focused on reducing costs, improving the developer’s efficiency and productivity.

· Marc Berg CEO of FREE NOW, points out that there is a trend towards mobility platforms which will pave the way for people to move from A to B and lead to much more seamless and holistic journeys in the next few years. Customers demand flexible and individual mobility solutions – they want to move conveniently and at one click, similar to the various video- or music-on-demand services.

· Cailin Crowe Associate Editor at Smart Cities Dive summarized that we likely see more autonomous delivery services. Cities will also have the task to support the cycling renaissance and organize smarter use of the curb as restaurants, shops, delivery services and mobility will compete for the space.

· Luis Sperr from Investments and Business Creation’s key take is that micromobility takes over urban mobility and transport. Services and not owning vehicles will be the new normal for urban mobility.

· Maya Ben Dror Lead, Future Mobility Platform at World Economic Forum & Global New Mobility Coalition says that the coupling of pandemic recovery and electrification efforts in cities will intensify, with a focus on high-mileage vehicles like ride-hailing, taxies and delivery vehicles. The 15-Minute City will be adapted by at least a handful of cities, tying recovery with local business growth, neighbourhood revival, and zero emission mobility.

· Siddhant Gupta, Head of Future Grid – Asia, is talking about following 4 points: 1. Routed vehicles like public transport municipal buses and short distance trucking will lead the transition to electric and subsequently to autonomous. 2.Battery technology and business model (1st and 2nd life) will drive charging infra deployment. 3. AI in Digital solutions around depot management and energy management will have the highest growth rate – early movers with significant advantage. 4. Smart Autonomous Charging Depots.

· Lukas Neckermann, Managing Director at Neckermann Strategic Advisors, points out that mobility will emerge as an industry in its own right, with its own value-chain – not being part of the automotive or public transport value-chain. Companies throughout our industry will re-evaluate their strengths and weaknesses within the mobility value-chain, as well as their key contributions to the industry. It’s now clear that not one company – however large – can “own” the entire mobility space, as some have tried to do in the last half decade. In 2021, many more local governments and real-estate developers will re-evaluate their use of urban space, implementing new facilities (lanes and parking) for bicycles, scooters, and even autonomous delivery and transport.

· Karolina Korth, Chief Digital Officer, Head of Strategy at Siemens Mobility, Spain says that in order to offer the level of comfort that is comparable with a car, public transport will need to use real time data to be able to adjust its supply to a demand, to make needed changes in real-time, schedule, available routes and number of trains available.

· Cagri Selcuklu predicts that the already growing demand on Micromobility, will grow even more strongly for the coming years in urban environment. But now, there is more pressure on efficiency and economic aspects. Companies will focus on these topics on 2021. Efficient, green and user-friendly approaches will thrive.

· The CEO and Co-Founder at Future Mobility Campus Ireland has three predictions to make: 1: Further consolidation in the AV industry. 2: The movement towards open cities during the Covid-19 will continue. 3: Two steps forward and one step back for EVs.

· Thibaud Febvre, Co-Founder & COO of Vianova says that in the aftermath of Covid-19, cities will face a slow rebuild of demand for classic public transport as well as return of discretionary travel which supports much public transport use. The EU Green deal and aftermath of Covid19 put pressure clearly on the automotive industry to deliver on clean vehicles and prevent replacing petrol/ diesel congestion with EV on road congestion.

· Meredith Glaser Researcher at the Urban Cycling Institute University of Amsterdam shares three predictions with us: #1: Renaissance of neighborhood centers, #2: Free the curb from cars and #3: Potential to revolutionize urban activity.

· Arianne Walker, Chief Evangelist for Alexa Auto at Amazon view is that artificial intelligence is going to help improve voice assistants to make the interaction even more natural and conversational.

· Aurélien Cottet a MaaS Project Leader at Transdev & Member of the Board of Directors at The MaaS Alliance has 5 MaaS predictions: 1) digitalization of many Public Transport Operations, 2) Public Transport will provide Mobility to Citizens, whereas companies will provide B2B2EE (Business to Business to Employees/Employers). 3) The employers will be the key in the success of MaaS. We start seeing big corporate proposing mobility budget to be spend in Public Transport or Shared Mobility. 4) He can see micro-mobility-hubs in private buildings, using the unused parking and storage places to allow people from outside to park, why not recharging their eV/eBike/ eScooter, to manage the last & first mile(s) for deliveries. 5) Imagine all trip-planners on a territory are all connected to the same data-lack. With such tool the territory will be able to manage its traffic lights dynamically in Realtime especially when unexpected incidents occur.

· Scott Shepard CMO at Iomob, predicts that we will see an increased mergers and acquisitions of micromobility operators. The market for shared and commercial autonomous vehicles has now eclipsed that for personal autonomous vehicles, thus the pivot towards robotaxis and driverless trucks. This will continue with rapid acceleration in investment, pilots, and commercial partnerships in the coming year. The most important trend and prediction for the year ahead in 2021 is the widespread adoption by governments of the policies related to ‘15 Minutes Cities”.

Reading what was said above, it seems clear that we need to take advantage of the momentum of COVID-19, where people already started drastically to change of how the move around and from where they work, but also how they seem to understand and appreciate the directions of the Paris Climate Agreement.

One thing is sure: no one can do it alone. Cooperation between the regulator, operators, users and employers will be necessary to move into an autonomous, electric, on-demand, shared and connected future.

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