What will the car industry look like in 2050?

What will the car industry look like in 2050?

Diesel scandal. An association that imposes driving bans in court. For various reasons, the future of the automotive industry is fraught with question marks. It seems difficult to make a long-term forecast.

McKinsey has now dared to tackle this problem and prepared a study on what the future of mobility in Europe could look like in 2050. In particular, the study focuses on the possibilities of securing the current success against the competition from China and the USA.


Sustainability and pioneering technology

The McKinsey study, published under the title "Race 2050 – A Vision for the Automotive Industry", summarises the proposals for the future of mobility in five points. The authors point out that there is not much time left for change. Sustainability is one of the alternatives for the long-term success of the European automotive industry. It is equally important to play a pioneering role in the technologies of fuel cells, e-mobility and alternative fuels.

The authors see the diversity of the European continent as a competitive advantage that must be exploited. Only in this way will there be a chance of asserting oneself in the field of e-mobility. The competitors from the USA are financially strong corporations, while the competitors from China can rely on state support.


Continuation of the European success story 

"The automotive industry is a European success story and a global leader," says Andreas Tschiesner of McKinsey. The importance of car manufacturers in Europe can be demonstrated by figures. The industry employs 13 million people throughout Europe, generates 7 percent of Europe's gross domestic product and generates tax revenues of EUR 410 billion for the EU.

To ensure that this success story continues in the future, McKinsey's consultants propose creating a "Silicon Valley" in Europe. The conditions are optimal. Numerous European universities are already at the forefront of research into electromobility. Car manufacturers invest 50 billion euros annually in development and research. It is therefore obvious to bundle the existing potential into a "mobility fund". According to McKinsey, private and public donors could thus contribute to a "network of cutting-edge research". 


New forms of cooperation 

The EU wants passenger and freight traffic to be CO2-neutral by 2050. For the automotive industry, this means securing the raw materials required for alternative drive systems. Municipalities are just as challenged as the energy sector.

In order to encourage drivers to switch to electric vehicles, 3.6 million new charging stations will have to be set up in public spaces by 2030. By way of comparison, today the figure is just under 100,000. According to McKinsey, the change cannot be managed by the carmakers alone. Instead, cooperation is an option. For example, both suppliers and car manufacturers could access a joint database. In this way, new innovative technology solutions could be developed. A European "test city" that can be used by all would also be conceivable.


Clarification of legal issues 

For the future of mobility, not all legal questions have been clarified for a long time. McKinsey sees a great need for action on the part of the EU with regard to robotic cars and networked cars. Data protection, vehicle safety, emissions and recycling also need to be regulated. These issues also affect insurers, energy providers and telecoms companies. The management consultants therefore recommend a joint regulatory forum at EU level.


Defining standards 

The McKinsey study underlines that cities and municipalities also have a duty. At present, Europe's cities have quite different ideas about future mobility. If the step into the future is to succeed, it is necessary for cities and industry to define mobility standards together. From today's perspective, 2050 may be a long way off. Nevertheless, action should be taken quickly so that the new mobility becomes a success story.

Date: 17 January 2019, 14:01 pm
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