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The automotive sector: at a crossroads of flexible and sustainable mobility

The automotive sector: at a crossroad

The automotive sector: at a crossroads of flexible and sustainable mobility

Frank Vancamp | Partner,

The opening of the Motor Show is, as every year, the ideal opportunity for manufacturers to showcase their new models and technologies; not forgetting the “dream cars”.

For some years now, the Motor Show has been increasingly focused on the question of how to propel mobility forward putting authorities, businesses and citizens at a crossroads of having to choose which direction they want to take. As a result, these choices have given rise to tension between the social importance of mobility and the complexity of today’s reality.

In recent years we have seen a greater focus on limiting the impact of mobility on the environment and climate. In view of this growing importance, governments are introducing fiscal and other measures to steer citizens towards sustainable mobility (for example Low Emission Zones, road tax and circulation tax reforms, cash-for-car and mobility budgets).

More stringent (emission) standards and a stricter approach to vehicles have undoubtable cost implications for citizens and businesses. In this complex context, our future federal government will also have to make choices between ecology, remuneration, purchasing power and the competitiveness of our companies, to name but a few examples.

Therefore, cooperation at the different policy levels (federal, regional and municipal authorities) in the field of mobility is necessary. Coordinated investments are essential to improve mobility and encourage sustainable mobility. Citizens and businesses want a more diversified offer allowing them to make informed choices about which (combined) solution they prefer (e.g. car, bus, metro, train, bicycle, etc.).

It goes without saying that transitioning to sustainable mobility implies investment in infrastructure and the latest technologies which are themselves still evolving. As far as vehicles are concerned, the question then arises as to which motorization or technology will dominate in the future. Interestingly, apart from price, the main obstacle to the use of electric vehicles is the lack of sufficient infrastructure (e.g. charging stations).

According to the most recent KPMG Global Automotive Executive Survey (2019), the market won’t be dominated by just one type of powertrain technology in the coming decades. In fact, the mobility ecosystem will be divided into battery, hydrogen-powered vehicles, classic internal combustion engines and hybrids.

Finally, new technologies will also have an important impact on transport offerings and how we will use them. Increasing connectivity will intensify the ability to flexibly switch from one mode of transport to another, making it easier to use. This presupposes that operators (public transport, car sharing, bike sharing etc.) chose to be connected.

We have arrived at an intersection and the light is about to turn green. Now let's keep our hands on the wheel and head towards a new sustainable mobility that provides the necessary flexibility and attention to the environment.

Frank Vancamp & Arnaud De Splenter