Realizing the future of mobility
A new vision of our understanding of mobility
In a nutshell:
- An important building block for the sustainable reduction of CO2 emissions is sustainable mobility.
- We all have to ask ourselves when we really need which form of mobility.
- We can’t put as many wind turbines as we want on the high ground in the Black Forest or in the North Sea. The area for solar plants is also limited in the end. The aim must be to consistently reduce energy consumption.
- The battery is much cleaner than often assumed. If done right, the climate footprint is relatively small.
- To manufacture lithium-ion batteries, a lot of raw materials are consumed. Against this background, the recycling of batteries is the topic of the future absolutely.
- The energy and mobility transition go hand in hand: the start-up AE, for example, converts surplus energy into green hydrogen and uses it to power the hydrogen cars on our roads.
Urban Standing Vehicles – A new view of our understanding of mobility
New thinking – instead of rethinking
For us, mobility is not necessarily linked to cars in the classic sense. Rather, it is about holistic, intelligent solutions for the mobility requirements in our everyday lives. Our inner cities in particular have a problem:
In terms of traffic, they are at their capacity limit.
On the one hand, more and more people own a car, and on top of that there are around 3.5 billion of mail and parcel deliveries every year.
Where the automotive industry is currently setting its accents was shown at the last International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt/Main in September 2019. Sophisticated stage shows were intended to communicate the impression of how climate-neutral the corporations are positioned. The trade show booths, on the other hand, still featured mainly SUVs (sport utility vehicles), which look like dinosaurs in these times of global warming. Many managers in the automotive industry say of themselves that they have gasoline in their blood. A metaphor for their enthusiasm for combustion vehicles.
Early failure, fast and inexpensive
It also became clear that the topic should be entered with light, electric commercial vehicles. The knowledge gained in the process is now, so to speak, common knowledge in electromobility and is being used by the automotive industry.
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Smaller than a car, bigger than a bike and then several of them – Ducktrain
The idea behind it: Up to five small and light electric vehicles are coupled in a Ducktrain and combined to form a train.
The innovative concept is not only suitable for mail and parcel deliveries; carrier applications are also possible. Designed to the size of a classic Euro pallet, the semi-autonomous light electric vehicle brings considerable advantages for our inner-city delivery traffic. For example, a Duck can also deliver pallets of goods for retailers and drive up to the goods receiving area.
Data as fuel for sustainable mobility
For example, the latest restaurant is advertised in the trendy district and later in the wealthy residential area they promote fine jewelry. When it’s sunny, ice cream shops attract us around the corner; when it’s raining, the new raincoat collection is advertised. UZE focuses on the urban space and the “last mile” to bring advertising as close as possible to your target group.
The idea of revolutionizing mobility through digital data streams can be taken even further: In the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, one of the best mobility apps has been created in the form of “Trafi.” The app uses real-time data from buses, trains, cabs and car-sharing services and creates route suggestions for the user that combine the various options. The whole thing is convenient and easy to use and ensures that every fifth citizen in Vilnius uses the app and increasingly leaves their car behind.
Transport and energy transition hand in hand
For the moment it remains higher, faster, further
Currently, one could get the impression that whoever has the biggest battery is the coolest. This has nothing to do with new thinking.
The range is determined by the capacity density in the battery. As components can be installed more and more compactly, battery design is also continuously improving. Of course, the active materials used, such as NMC (lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt oxides) and graphite, can also be further optimized through additives and changes in their composition, which increases gravimetric capacities.
As a result, e-cars can travel significantly more kilometers on one battery charge. High ranges will therefore also be possible with smaller batteries in the future.
But is the maxim “higher, faster, further” at all appropriate? Do we really need ranges of several hundred kilometers in our everyday lives?
A big footprint? The dark side of e-mobility
The energy consumption and thus the CO2 emissions during the production of a lithium-ion battery is an important topic. Here, a study by the Swedish IVL Institute has caused confusion. In it, it was calculated that between 150 and 200 kg of CO2 are released per kWh of battery power in its production.
Most vehicles do not have 100 kWh batteries installed. In addition, there are different types of cell production that are significantly more energy efficient than the Swedes claim. The bottom line is that there are still many ways to minimize CO2 emissions in battery production. For example, through lower-energy active material drying during cell production.
In order to realize the mobility of the future, we have to radically reformulate our thinking. We cannot change the whole world either. That’s why we’re starting small. On our own front door. One thing is certain: there are at least as many front doors as there are cars on our roads. Together, we can successfully master change.