Prof. Dr. Stephan Rammler, Scientific Director of the Institute for Future Studies and Technology Assessment (IZT) in Berlin and Professor of Transportation Design at the HBK Braunschweig

Should Germans say farewell in their heads and hearts to the cars they love so dearly? Mobility researcher and futurologist Stephan Rammler certainly thinks so. „When people started using cars, fossil-fuel propulsion was a very good idea,” he said, “But now things have changed.“

Rammler said concepts like „private ownership“, „internal combustion engines“ and even „driving yourself“ were being overtaken by the megatrends of sharing, electromobility and autonomous driving. He said there were much smarter and more efficient ways to get around than owning a vehicle that just stands around for 23 hours a day.

The speaker noted that the German automotive industry had missed many developments. He said the diesel scandal, and the lack of response to it, was jeopardizing the prestige of the ‘Made in Germany’ label. At present, the west was hardly able to lead the way forward; instead, the next major technology leap would probably come from China, which was starting with a blank sheet of paper in many areas.

Rammler also cited political failures as a reason for saying goodbye to automobility in its present form. He said twenty 20 years of policy failure were now being crowned by bigotry: issuing mobility transformation targets on the one hand, while offloading responsibility for the transformation to the industry and its consumers on the other. „If you recognise the benefits of new mobility, you should also have the courage to regulate what you no longer want.“

Automotive Summit 2018 – Executive Summary

In early December 2018, over 600 automotive experts from all over the world – including manufacturers and suppliers, tech and energy companies, politicians and associations – attended the auto industry summit in Wolfsburg, Germany. From 3 – 5 December, the industry’s big hitters discussed strategies, concepts and technologies for tomorrow’s automobiles and the future course of their industry.

We’ve compiled the highlights from the Handelsblatt Auto Summit 2018 in an interactive follow-up report.