Hopes that EVs Could Spark a Resurgence of Mobility

In panel discussions at this year’s AutoTech Detroit, what is claimed to be a resurgence of mobility was mooted.

Now Jaeson Yoo, chief communications officer and chief investment officer at automotive cyber-security firm Autocrypt confirms that it’s actually happening. Mobility in his opinion is “without doubt” seeing a resurgence but then he asks what it actually means to everyone.

He explains: “Through the framework of safely collecting, and efficiently utilizing data, mobility providers can improve mobility for all segments of the population. We think it is and should be technologically feasible to make transport inclusive for all, making mobility one of the crucial components of what the future should look like in our cities. One of the gateways to these kinds of technology is data: data allows the kind of operational efficiency that makes it possible for all entities to get into the mobility business.”

Alex Liegl, co-founder and CEO at Tenet Energy attests that there is an increased focus on mobility and electrification. In his view, this ‘resurgence’ includes the introduction of autonomous vehicles, the rise in ride-sharing apps, and the emergence of alternative fuel sources. They are in his view the catalysts for change in favor of mobility. He adds that startups and automakers are driving this transformation through the development of new technology solutions.

He elaborates: “This resurgence of mobility is focused on trying to solve how people move from A-to-B in ways that are financially and environmentally sustainable. For Tenet, we see key incentives supporting this resurgence in electrification. Accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) relies on making them affordable and accessible through fintech solutions.”

Leverage government rebates

To encourage the resurgence of mobility, in Liegl’s view, requires the creation of a product that benefits from government rebates and it’s vital to help customers to take advantage of them. By doing so, customers can save money on the purchase of a new vehicle. Also, he says the financial markets are prioritizing climate-related benefits, requiring companies to make them economically attractive while supporting decarbonization mandates.

He remarks: “Tenet has identified this opportunity and is creating solutions that provide financial markets, consumers and OEMs with the right incentives to transition to EVs. Ultimately, Tenet’s mission is to provide a comprehensive suite of fintech solutions to make EVs more affordable and accessible.”

There is a keen possibility that data is very much behind this emergence too, explains Yoo. That’s because data has the potential to create significantly more effective and sustainable mobility services. Data involve collecting it in real-time, and it includes factors such as driving behavior, charging status, and data analysis can be used to effectively as well as efficiently manage fleets. “We’ve also come to realize that sharing useful data in a secure way with relevant stakeholders has great potential for further improving mobility services,” says Yoo.

Liegl adds: “Data plays a vital role in understanding the potential of EVs and how they can contribute to decarbonization efforts. By leveraging data from vehicle sensors, public infrastructure, mobility patterns, energy pricing and more, mobility providers can better understand how EVs are used and how their operations are affected by external factors like climate change.”

More efficient EVs

He believes the world of electrified transportation is evolving rapidly, arguing that new technologies will lead to the creation and manufacture of longer-lasting and more efficient EVs. Behind this is a data-driven approach. He suggests it enables drivers to take advantage of the financial benefits of EVs. In his opinion they will be able to reduce their carbon footprint, which I would personally argue is probably not the main concern of most non-corporate drivers. Nevertheless, he argues that EVs are paving the way for them to “embrace a net zero home powered by electrification technologies.” [Albeit, EV green credentials rely on a much greener electricity generation supply, see Volvo Admits BEVs Need Clean Energy Investment to be ‘Green’– Ed]

Mobility providers may need to re-define their data to improve their services, to improve their use and to refine their operations to create better efficiencies. Liegl says this can be done by employing data in the form of data collection and analysis; using data analysis to identify opportunities to improve sustainability by, for example, optimizing route planning and encouraging eco-friendly modes of transportation, and by considering the environmental impact of operations.

Enhancing customer experience

Data analysis can also be used for personalization and for enhancing the customer experience. He explains: “Analyzing customer data can enable mobility providers to personalize services, offer targeted promotions and enhance customer experience. Tailoring services to individual preferences can improve customer loyalty and increase satisfaction.”

Lastly, he says there is often a need to refine pricing models: “By aggregating and analyzing data, mobility providers can identify opportunities to optimize pricing and increase revenue. Data analysis can help detect potential fraud and enable efficient billing processes.”

Yoo then reminds us that data security is essential. Only then can data be shared safely and utilized efficiently. This includes making sure that all communications are fully and tightly encrypted, and it involves ensuring that all data and communications can only be accessed by the intended recipients. “By doing so, not only are the communications safe but the integrity of the data going back and forth can be readily assumed,” he explains before discussing whether P2P car-sharing will overtake any traditional car-sharing model.

Correct use of data

It’s not just about changing models of car ownership too. Yoo believes it’s also about the correct deployment of data. However, the correct usage of the data is defined, he believes it can create transportation and mobility opportunities for many new players. Yoo goes further to suggest that the P2P model could open the market to many more people who want to get into the car rental business.

He explains why: “It allows massive flexibility in terms of pick-up and drop-off locations. Assuming that this business can be run safely, it allows more people to access mobility itself, and we’re all for that!” Another aspect of this is electrification. To this end he sees EV charging stations as a crucial data point. He rightly points out that they aren’t simply just sources of electric power for EV. “Charging stations signify yet another endpoint that can collect and share important data for mobility services, in addition to the vehicles, users and service providers,” he comments.

Liegl responds by stressing that electrification is moving very quickly. He argues that with increasing availability, charging infrastructure and better battery technology, EVs will become increasingly practical. He adds: “As the world of EVs continues to evolve, solutions providers must continue to support consumers during this energy transition. Educating consumers on optimizing vehicle charging and opportunities to drive cost savings can accelerate other at-home electrification incentives, like solar panels and home battery storage. Electric vehicles are the gateway to electrifying everything, including our homes.”

Convenience and affordability

The background to this transformation and its transition is the need to promote convenience and affordability of owning an electric vehicle. That said, there will be mobility providers wishing to dispel the notion that owning a vehicle is the best model – promoting instead ride-sharing and subscription-based models.

Nevertheless, to increase electric vehicle ownership it is important to reduce their cost, and to provide financing opportunities to customers, and to help them through government incentives to purchase and install home chargers. Another option is to bundle the cost of at-home charging infrastructure and installation as part of their EV automotive financing loan.

While it does seem that resurgence in mobility is occurring, the notion of a resurgence could nevertheless be disputed – in terms of both electric and autonomous vehicles. Germany wants to push back the date for when consumers won’t be permitted to buy a new internal combustion engine vehicle in favor of an EV. It argues that it would like to invest in less polluting fuels for these traditional engines. Also, some firms involved with autonomous vehicle projects have stalled. So, if there is any kind of mobility resurgence, it’s yet to be seen how long it will last and what form it will take.

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