The future of connected mobility

4 min read

What are the merging business models and alliances, as well as trends, in connected mobility for the rest of 2022? By Paolo Cappello.

A number of elements are going to continue to drive change in the mobility sector throughout 2022. From the rise of new technology enablers such as data analytics, IoT, 5G and urban air mobility tools, right through to a regulatory focus to reduce emissions, several trends are accelerating the connected mobility market and its outlook for 2022. Combine these with the growing consumer environmental awareness, preference for digital and micro mobility solutions such as e-scooters, and it is clear that the mobility market is gearing for the perfect storm.

At the forefront of the “mobilitech” revolution, here at Air-Connected Mobility, we’ve noted a series of important trajectories for mobility that we expect will dominate the industry.

Here is our starter for ten, in no particular order:

Safety first

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a surge in anxiety-related problems and, for many, getting back onto public transport is simply a no-no. Add to this the need to curb personal emissions and save on petrol and driving is no longer an appealing option.

Consequently, more and more people are choosing different means to get about the city such as bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters.

While healthier and safer options on the one hand, they do also present a flip-side as the mixture of different vehicles on the road has increased accidents and is causing significant headaches for city planners

Disintermediation in automotive

Growing digitalisation in the automotive sector will continue to push towards disintermediated sales. As more people are buying and researching practically any product online, the gap with the automotive sector is widening. Add to this that Covid has added fuel to the disruptive fire with more demographic segments having grown confident with the web and search queries for buying a car online increasing.

We can expect to see further outlet consolidation, leaner retail formats, direct customer access, and alternative sales models with leading car makers and OEMs exploring the potential of B2B2C business models.

Data-driven pricing

An increased digitalisation in the automotive sector is also expected to drive new impetus in data-driven pricing and sales of used car stock.

By introducing new technology solutions, the used car market will finally be able to remarket to customers via different channels, increasing touchpoints with end-users, broadening the customer pool and critically improving pricing models through greater standardization and real-time market insight.

Data-based town planning

In an increasingly complex and multi-faceted mobility mix, town planners are having to come to terms with the practical outcomes of encouraging the use of "green" vehicles such as e-bikes, e-scooters and electric or hybrid cars. This means making room for racks for scooters and bikes, managing the tracking, maintenance and return of these vehicles to central areas and the provision of power columns and resources for electric modes of transport.

To avoid collisions and make transit safer for everyone, many town councils are evaluating the mix of vehicles, their typical transit paths and potential cross-over, with the objective of developing new lanes.

Connectivity and apps

Consumers are ever more empowered to take control of their carbon footprint and IoT driven technology is increasingly providing data to help them understand how they can reduce emissions but also how they can improve their driving behaviour to make it safer and more cost-efficient. Apps that unlock this information are going to rise to the challenge in 2022 as “black box” devices become compulsory on vehicles in Europe. This intelligence, once anonymised, is also going to prove a key game-changer for town planners reviewing infrastructure requirements.

Vehicle to Everything

V2X is a vehicular communication system that supports the transfer of information from and to a vehicle, to and from moving parts of the traffic system that may affect the vehicle.

This technology combines Vehicle-to-Network, Vehicle-to-Vehicle, Vehicle-to-Infrastructure and Vehicle-to-pedestrian communication, and aims to improve road safety, energy savings, and traffic efficiency, by allowing a constant flux of data between vehicles and smart cities.

The Vehicle to Everything market it’s still in its early stages, and even though more and more manufacturers are equipping new cars with V2X technology, it will reach its full potential only when and if smart cities implement V2X compatible systems as well.

Joining forces & services

To embrace the new wave of digitalisation and mobility alternatives, major market players are joining forces and creating a lively M&A environment with an eye to becoming the leading 360° mobility player. Nowhere has this been so evident as in the long-term rental segment where Leasys, Donlen and Leaseplan are seen as leading the way.

Another mobility trend, that is not new but has new consequences, is the shift away from fossil-fuel powered vehicles, that translates in an increase in electric car sales, up 80% in 2021, but also into a more generalised culture shift towards Mobility as a Service (MaaS).

MaaS enables users to plan, book, and pay for multiple types of mobility services through a single channel and heralds the shift away from personal vehicle ownership towards combination services that combine public and private transportation providers.

Emissions regulation

The EU Commission had proposed that the reduction target in 2030 be set at 55 per cent compared to 2021, in addition to the de facto ban on internal combustion engines for new cars from 2035. From then on only cars with CO2 emissions of 0 g/km may be registered.

And with the European Union rebuffing challenges to vehicle emissions exemptions brought by the cities of Brussels, Paris and Madrid, it is clear the pressure is on.

Social equity

When it is not feasible to encourage a change of means, mobilitech provides a solution that helps to reduce emissions in awareness of social justice; by applying black boxes to individual cars, targeted interventions become possible. By focusing only on specific vehicles and in specific areas, citizens' perceived discomfort is reduced, while low-consumption driving is rewarded without pointing the finger exclusively at citizens who own more polluting vehicles. This is, for example, the success story provided by the Lombardy and Piedmont MoVe-IN project.

Shared mobility grows-up

As a result of the pandemic, there has been a surge in interest in individual mobility solutions. More and more metropolitan travellers are opting for solutions that allow them to avoid busy trains, buses and metros and opting for leaner, more flexible systems.

The rise in MaaS confirms this trend, although car sharing may regain some momentum in a post-pandemic era, as shared mobility solutions can help achieve carbon reduction and ESG objectives, if applied to the corporate environment.

Mobility data underpins a huge range of industries and activities, grasping its value and leveraging it effectively can help improve the lives of citizens but also make town planning more efficient and equitable as well as drive business efficiencies for dealers, car manufacturers and fleet managers.

Author details: Paolo Cappello, General Manager at Air-Connected Mobility