Co-innovation driving the transition of the automotive and mobility sectors

The recent crises (Covid, Ukraine, etc.) and their consequences, in particular for the supply of strategic materials (nickel, cobalt, lithium, etc.), by no means inhibit innovation, they should “stimulate joint innovation and R&D between actors,” says Marc Morture, general manager of the Automotive and Mobile Industry Platform, PFA.

Did you say general innovation? “This is a central topic in the automotive industry today,” continues the PFA CEO. Thus, the sector is opening up more and more “to the world of energy, chemistry, telecommunications, digital technology and even infrastructure.”

Diverse Ecosystems

And for analysis: “We are moving towards a much broader and more diversified ecosystem than traditionally in the automotive sector. With very large groups, but also with start-ups, without forgetting the contribution of all the most innovative players who invest heavily. Especially digital ones. We think of Amazon, Apple, Google or even Tesla.

In this sense, the automobile, continues Marc Morture, is “the concentrate of the transition that we are experiencing today in a broader sense.” With this big question unresolved for now: “What will be the value share of traditional players in the future of mobility? »

Importance of Digitization

Same or almost the same story at IDDRI (Institute for Sustainability and International Relations), where Jean-Philippe Hermine, an expert in mobility and transition, also insists on the importance of digitization to support the transition of the sector.

“A systemic transition to mobility, in fact, will require an interface between actors,” the expert emphasizes. And it is the figure that will bring it, at least make it smoother. To note in particular his contribution to intermodality, “free-floating” or even charging infrastructure. At the PFA, Marc Morture agrees: “I even think that it is the digital revolution that will create the most value and differentiation for the sector” as cars become more automated and integrated into the environment.

Zero emissions in use

However, to succeed in this transition, the automotive and mobility sectors will need to continue to invest heavily in all technologies with zero emissions in use. The PFA CEO also advocates a variety of technology solutions rather than one solution. However, it is “huge technology stakes every time,” he insists, with a very high level of risk. That is why innovation should be part of a public-private partnership approach.”

In terms of technology, the players are working on, in particular, all the innovations related to electric batteries, which are invented by large partnerships such as ACC, Stellantis and Mercedes, or even startups such as Verkor. With problems related to both “teaching modern battery processes and working on future generations,” analyzes Marc Mortyure. An important lever is the increase in energy density.

What remains the most difficult, and the most risky.

Jean-Philippe Hermine, mobility and transition expert

In addition to these, many already existing devices, both at the European level, “especially within the H2020 device”, emphasizes Cécile Goubet, General Delegate of Avere-France, the professional association for the development of mobile electricity, and at the national level. (BPI, Adem, etc.), “under future investment programs, PIA.” Also with the creation of major international investment funds such as the Hy24-managed fund for the development of carbon-free hydrogen infrastructure, now endowed with 1.8 billion euros!

At the edge of transition

Jean-Philippe Hermine, meanwhile, is pleased that “mobility is now at the forefront of the transition to the environment.” And the expert clarified his thought: “With an already well-defined trajectory, regulatory framework, technological solutions. In a word, “we have passed the initialization phase,” the expert believes, “political tools have already made it possible to develop technological and service solutions for the most nimble, wealthy consumers. »

It’s time to move on to the mass deployment phase of these innovations. “What remains the most difficult and most risky”, in particular in social terms, continues Jean-Philippe Hermin, who, in order to achieve this, advocates a “socio-demographic approach” with a differentiated instrumentation for both individuals and professionals, in depending on their circumstances.

And so to hope that the transition of the automotive sector and the mobility sector can be: “Fair, equitable. And why not desirable! Let’s be ambitious. »