Commentary: What does eMobility mean to you?

Commentary: What does eMobility mean to you?

The term ‘eMobility’ is becoming very popular these days as we look towards a more sustainable future. But as so often happens with buzzwords, their actual meaning becomes vague and in time you can use them to indicate all kinds of things. So, what does that ‘e’ actually mean in ‘eMobility’?

Sure, we all know that eMobility refers to electric vehicles, so it’s a no-brainer that that ‘e’ should stand for ‘electric’. But is this all? Are we all falling for this revolution just because we like electric things? Is it because we are so passionate about our electric hoovers that we now want our cars to be electric too?

So, let’s give it another try. Maybe we are into eMobility because this implies ‘electronic’ cars? Isn’t it that we are all amazed by – the 17-inch touchscreens? Isn’t it that we are just baffled by the fact that the car gets its brain updated overnight without the hassle of bringing it to the workshop? I’ll be honest – for me, just the fact that the door handle of the Tesla comes out when you approach and then retracts once you enter the car –sets this car a world apart.

Speaking about the future, can we deny that eMobility also stands for ‘evolved’ cars. Disruption, revolution… how many buzzwords again. Words are just evocative sounds, sounds that we associate to mental images, to feelings and hopes much more than we associate to objects or real things. So, what does eMobility evoke to you? A quiet cabin, a comfortable seat? You chatting in a soft voice with your partner sat to your side? Are the kids happy in the back seats, watching their favourite movie? Yes, this is the journey you imagine for yourself for your next summer vacation – the first vacation with your new electric vehicle.

All this looks nice and exciting, but I think it’s most important that we remember the WHY. Why are we in this electric transition? Is it because we need larger touchscreens? Is it because we want our cars to be an extension of our smartphone and give us access to our emails or our Netflix account? Probably, for some people this is the main driver.

But I’ll tell you what that ‘e’ in eMobility stands for in my mind. It stands for ‘environmentally sustainable mobility’. That ‘e’ says we are conscious about the environment, we are conscious that we cannot thrive at the expense of planet Earth, that we have to give back what we take, and we cannot take more than what we can give back.

What’s the point of an electric car if the energy it runs on comes from burning coal? What’s the point of an electric car if the ton of plastics it’s made with come from oil? What’s the point in making your neighbourhood a quieter place if the cobalt in your battery brought damage to forests and mountains, and impacted the rights of people in developing countries?

These are the issues and challenges facing the automotive industry in the search for a more sustainable road forward. At our upcoming HxGN LIVE Design & Engineering event, 12-14 October, we’ll be welcoming several high-profile automotive industry speakers for sessions exploring how we can build these important considerations into our next generation vehicles and ensure that we build them in a truly sustainable way. Tickets for the virtual conference are complimentary, so make sure you register and join the conversation.

Let’s make eMobility real. Let’s make it right. Let’s make it sustainable.

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