Siemens Worldwide

Pictures of the Future



Mr. Sebastian Webel
Mr. Sebastian Webel


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Werner-von-Siemens-Straße 1
80333 Munich

Pictures of the Future
The Magazine for Research and Innovation

The Future of Mobility

Translating Transportation Data into Services

The automotive industry is being transformed by digital technologies, demand for electric vehicles, and associated developments.

Vehicles and their associated infrastructures are on the road to becoming ecosystems that trade energy and generate information. These developments are opening the door to entirely new players – as well as to established companies such as Siemens.

Tesla is known all over the world as the star of the automotive sector. In 2016 the company, which is headed by Elon Musk, sold about 76,000 electric vehicles. But there’s one company in the automotive sector that is even more successful at selling electric cars than Tesla: Chinese automaker BYD Auto, which has put more than 102,000 electric vehicles on the road.

Today it no longer seems odd that a Chinese manufacturer of electric vehicles is outdoing an American one. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), more than 650,000 electric vehicles were traveling on China’s roads in 2016.

China was followed by the USA, with 560,000 vehicles, Japan (151,000), and Norway (133,000). Germany only held eighth place, with 72,730 electric vehicles.

The key question is: How can the data generated by these vehicles be translated into products and services?

Four Trends

China is not the only country where the automotive industry is experiencing a radical transformation. The boom in electric vehicles and other developments are changing conventional auto manufacturing. “Electric drive systems, connectivity, autonomous driving, and car sharing – each one of these trends has the potential to turn our sector upside down,” said Dieter Zetsche, the CEO of Daimler AG, at the Mercedes-Benz press conference during the Mondial de l’Automobile auto show in Paris in September 2016. Only one third of the components in electric vehicles are the same as those of conventional vehicles – and that’s an advantage for technology innovators that are entering the automotive industry.

Tesla, which is headed by Elon Musk, has become the star of the world’s automotive sector.

The key question is: How can the data generated by these vehicles be translated into products and services? “The actual revolution lies in creating smart connections between the four trends,” Zetsche added. Ideas concerning these connections range from predictive maintenance to use-based insurance – and they go far beyond the vehicles themselves. Technology-savvy organizations such as the major automakers, startups, providers of alternative mobility, data management services, insurers, emergency services providers, and infrastructure operators – all of them are important players when it comes to the development of new business models based on vehicle data, according to a study “Monetizing Car Data” conducted by the McKinsey consulting company.

Evolving Infrastructures

In view of this, it is clear that we will not only witness profound changes in vehicles, but in the infrastructures that support them. For instance, Siemens’ quick charging stations recently celebrated their world premiere in Hamburg, where they recharge electric buses from various manufacturers several times a day. In another development, electric and hybrid trucks equipped with current collectors are traveling on public roads for the first time in Sweden, where Siemens has installed overhead conductors. In addition, Siemens operates the world’s biggest cloud-based traffic control center. Such centers enable local authorities to establish smart traffic management systems without having to invest in expensive control centers themselves. These examples indicate that transportation systems are changing in ways that go well beyond the switch from combustion engines to electric mobility – in the areas of freight transport, local and long-distance transportation, and road and rail traffic.

Gitta Rohling
Picture credits: from top: 1. picture gettyimages, 2. dpa