Shared & autonomous: will OEMs stay ahead of the game?
Pondering over this theme during an inspiring debate at this year’s Fleet Europe Forum in Estoril, Portugal, were PSA Groupe’s Executive Vice-President Mobility Services Grégoire Olivier and Sebastian Peck, Managing Director of JLR’s InMotion.
With the exception of Norway, fleets seem less than enthusiastic about switching to zero-emission vehicles, mainly due to the lack of tax incentives. That much the speakers agreed on, as well as the fact that the electric car model offer will increase over the next years, while prices come down, making an interesting TCO case.
No autonomy without sharing
According to Sebastian Peck, car sharing will be quite challenging for JLR, as the premium British vehicles are relatively expensive. “Still, the sharing element is one of the building blocks of autonomous driving. For now, JLR’s experiments are limited to confined contexts, but we firmly believe in the future of ride haling.”
But how will this revolutionise corporate mobility? “With Emov, PSA Groupe has 700 electric vehicles available in a B2C car sharing scheme in Madrid. Car sharing will be a big trend within companies, too. The number of privately owned vehicles is declining, but at the same time fleet sales will increase. Moreover, the vehicles will be used more intensely and therefore be replaced sooner.”
What the customer wants
“Why is there not one global easy to use end-to-end mobility platform?” asked Fleet Europe’s Chief Editor and moderator for the day Steven Schoefs. “The market is indeed very fragmented today. It will take a long time before everything will be aggregated”, explained Sebastian Peck. “These aggregators come from different backgrounds: public transport, OEMs. Impossible to say which one will prevail. One thing is for sure: the customer wants choice.”
Why exactly did PSA Groupe invest in Free2Move, an app allowing people to find and compare vehicles from a wide variety of car sharing providers? “Basically, because we are aware of the fact that our customers will eventually get rid of their cars in large cities, but demand from us a global mobility solution as an alternative. With Free2Move, PSA reaches out to its customers and finds mobility solutions to retain them.”
Price is not an issue
Will tech companies like Google, Uber, Amazon, take the lead with their market intelligence and deep pockets? Will mobility eventually become entirely free, when we take out the driver and let in-car service providers pay the bill? An interesting topic raised by Steven Schoefs – and one that resulted in slightly diverging answers.
“It is our belief that price will not be an issue - it’s about availability. The customer will pick the solution that is at hand and convenient”, said Grégoire Olivier. InMotion’s Managing Director did not entirely concur: “Availability is one thing, but we are convinced that it is also about the experience that you want. Some customers will be happy to pay more for a premium experience.”
But won’t autonomous & shared driving take the fun out of driving? “At PSA, we are convinced that mobility will remain fun, because there will be entirely new features and services. Moreover, our research shows that many customers are excited to embrace new experiences.”