We need to optimise the use of the assets we already own !
The automotive industry provides more than twelve million jobs in Europe. Hence, its future concerns us all. Automotive companies are re-imagining their business models and looking to the future. It is common knowledge that tomorrow’s car should be clean, hybrid or electric, affordable.
Despite the combined efforts of car manufacturer and of Original Equipment Manufacturers, the existing car fleet and most of new vehicles are equipped with an Internal Combustion Engine. In short, the automobile industry is still embedded in the past.
At Oscaro, we are committed to working towards a better use of the existing automotive fleet. Cars add convenience, comfort, security, and control and have become essential to our daily lives. Yet shifting to a clean future means that we need to take care of the present first: in this article, we want to share a few ideas on how to deal with it.
Innovation for a better use of the world vehicle fleet
Innovation in the mobility space, to which automobiles belong, is coming from start-ups and innovators, not only from automobile companies.
As an example, the field of intermobility is emerging quickly. We can now use various modes of transportation for a single journey. Many European start-ups are proposing projects involving multiple mobility solutions (train, bus, car, bicycle, etc.) and they are currently developing user friendly techniques to reduce the use of the private car.
Collaborative platforms will bring new mobility solutions to consumers as well: carpool and car sharing services… Most of them are emanate from the private sector and start-ups. The EUSP is a first step in that direction, which is why we’ve decided to support it.
Reducing the carbon footprint of mobility of today’s vehicles
The key to responsible mobility is to increase awareness on grey emission between businesses and consumers. One way of doing this is by using the life cycle assessment approach to measure the impacts of a vehicle from the design phase to its end-of-life, thus enabling it to effectively target environmentally positive actions.
Usually, production represents 25% – 30% of the vehicle’s impact on the planet and this corresponds to:
- Raw material extraction and the production of the parts
- Assembly of the vehicle, including manufacturing inputs and outputs.
The use phase impact of the vehicle on the planet represents 70% of its impact on the planet. To illustrate the approach, the Global Warming Potential of two cases was simulated, using Renault Lifecycle assessment (Megane IV).
- In the first case, a consumer keeps its vehicle during 300 000 km, whereas a second consumer chooses to invest in the next generation of a similar vehicle.
- In the second case, the new vehicle is supposed to consume and pollute 20% less than the previous one. The original vehicle is recycled.
The results of this comparison are illustrated on the graph above, and support a simple yet powerful idea: from an environmental and sustainability perspective, it makes more sense to focus on repairs and extending lifespan instead of building products that are meant to be renewed. It is our mission to make sure that cars are durable and reparable.
It is our responsibility to stand up for a Right to Repair!
For hundreds of years, Europeans have been buying products without worrying if they had the ability to repair them. They simply could.
Oscaro’s ambition is to help people have a great time with their rides. We achieve this goal by spreading the DiY values and providing a unique and fulfilling online experience that enables them to diagnose, maintain, repair, and upgrade their vehicles.
In 2007, the European Parliament argued that automotive data should be freely available as public good for independent repairers, distributors and consumers.
More than 10 years later, car maintenance has become much more complex: parts are not always available, data and repair manuals are still not accessible.
As a key player in the field of independent repair and environmentally engaged organizations, we ask for:
- The right to fix our own product, or to choose someone we trust to do so
- A fair access to service parts and tools, as well as diagnostics
The European startup ecosystem has been thriving in recent years with mobility being one of the fastest-growing sectors, attracting innovators who are seeking to make a positive social and environmental impact.
Unfortunately, a lack of investment makes it hard for mobility startups to scale up as they must continually raise funds to simply stay in business.
Connecting funders and founders must therefore be a top priority for institutions and independent platforms which want to accelerate the shift towards a future of more sustainable mobility.
For more information:
Europe’s got talent, now it’s time to fund the startup movement
Funding the Movement
It’s nearly Easter, and that means…endless traffic jams. Well, not quite endless – there was one in Beijing in 2010 that lasted for 12 days, so you will hopefully get off easier than that – but it’s never much fun.
So while we are probably some way from consigning traffic jams to the scrap heap of history, we seem to be moving that way for fossil-fuel powered vehicles and dirty mobility options. We need alternatives, and that’s why we at the Solar Impulse Foundation have committed to select 1000 clean, efficient and profitable solutions to protect the environment.
Clean transport implications
And while our scope goes beyond mobility, the implications of clean transport are about much more than just how we get around. For example, In Europe transport accounts for more than a third of our total energy use, and while electric vehicles are central to decarbonizing the transport sector, it will also cause the demand for electricity to skyrocket so how that electricity is produced, and the efficiency with which it is used, are key factors. Indeed, the amount of electricity needed could actually hold back the uptake of these clean technologies.
The point espoused by Bertrand Piccard, the chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation and someone who knows a thing or two about clean – if unconventional – mobility – is that solutions exist that protect the environment and are economically viable and that rather being seen as an expensive cost, should be seen as opening up new industrial markets and creating jobs and profit.
What do some of these solutions look like?
Well, there’s a great variety; consider petrol vehicles, which are going to be with us for some time yet. Anti-smog have created a hydrogen fuel enhancement kit which injects hydrogen into the engine allowing for a more complete combustion of fuel in cars, thereby reducing engine emissions by up to 80% and increasing fuel efficiency by up to 20%.
Finding ways to improve efficiency are all over the place, and certainly includes the physical design of the vehicle. Airshaper are providing tools to help constructors figure out designs to reduce aerodynamic resistance, which accounts for more than half of the energy required to keep a heavy vehicle moving at 100 km/h, and reducing that resistance by 20% can cut overall fuel consumption by a tenth. Across the EU, lorries, buses and coaches are responsible for around a quarter of road transport carbon emissions. Or what about Solvay, who have found that by adding Silica to tires, they are able to reduce rolling resistance significantly, leading to a 7% improvement in fuel efficiency, and therefore reduced emissions for the same trip.
It’s not just for cars and trucks, though; the phrase “innovative and sustainable railway sleepers” may not be the stuff dreams are made of, but GreenRail have made just that; a sleeper that lasts longer, cost 40% less to maintain, and cuts down on noise pollution. Most remarkable though is that for every kilometer of train track, some 35 tons of recycled plastic and rubber are used in their manufacturing! They were selected as the Best Startup of 2017 at the second edition of Startup Italia Open Summit this past December.
And if we rethink urban mobility, let’s consider all those cities with rivers and lakes that can be used to reduce congestion, which is costly; Paris loses some 10Bn EUR in lost productivity each year because of it. That’s where Seabubbles comes in with their low-cost, energy-efficient electric water-taxi service. It’s quick, comfortable and runs off energy produced cleanly at its docking station. As you’ll see from the video below, it seems a lot more pleasant than sitting in traffic.
It’s clear that a great many solutions, in addition to the electric and hydrogen vehicles that will increasingly populate our roads, are part of this transition, and we are looking to help bring them to the fore. So as you sit, stuck surrounded by your fellow drivers pondering why you decided to take this drive in the first place, consider submitting your solution to be included for consideration as one of our 1000 Efficient Solutions.
Solar Impulse Foundation
Following the success of the first solar flight around the world, the Solar Impulse Foundation has launched the second phase of its action: selecting #1000solutions that can protect the environment in a profitable way, and bring them to decision makers to encourage them to adopt more ambitious environmental targets and energy policies.
Through the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions, Bertrand Piccard wants to federate the actors of the field in clean technologies and shed light on existing efficient solutions to fast-track their implementation. A new innovative and pioneering adventure has begun – together we can improve the quality of life on Earth.
Download Startup Prize, the exclusive application for the European Startup Prize for mobility created by SPHERE. Startup Prize connects you automatically with both attendees and speakers in your industry to bring you the best personalized networking experience possible.
About SPHERE: SPHERE is a Paris and San Francisco based company that works throughout Europe and the United States to develop technology that creates event-based communities and expedites networking. SPHERE has collaborated with a wide range of companies, organizations, and festivals including BFM media, SNCF, the Republican Guard of Paris to connect their communities as well as working with the French Minister of Social Affairs and Employment and other members of the French government. For the unique algorithm that connects each app user, SPHERE has received multiple awards including the Trophy European Council 2017 and the UC Irvine Alumni Achievement Award.
Europe gears up to play pivotal role in sustainable mobility and has a chance to take the lead in innovation and technology as its economy gathers pace.
Growth and fresh opportunities
Globalisation is associated with an increase in transport demand and has made the mobility of people, ideas and goods a driving force and an essential feature of our modern societies.
In recent years, technical progress and restrictive regulations have been combined to reduce vehicle fuel consumption and unit emissions. And we, CECRA, have accompanied our members, dealers and repairers in their reflexions to identified privileged lever for action: on the one hand to make a qualitative shift towards less consumer and less polluting modes, and on the other hand to develop environmentally friendly services.
Free competition, innovation, independent entrepreneurship and consumer’s freedom are the cornerstones of today’s automotive market and even more so in the future.
“CECRA is committed to the belief that in order to develop sustainable mobility services, close collaboration between all stakeholders in this ecosystem is necessary. To go further in this approach, we recently joined the MaaS Alliance to actively participate in the building of the European framework for Mobility as a Service ” says Jean-Charles Herrenschmidt, president of CECRA.
Innovation is as important for small business as for large ones, no business can remain stagnant and expect to survive for very long in today’s competitive economy.
SMEs have the power to achieve a lot, can adapt to new trends and change by innovating. It is possible for them to develop sustainable choices while identifying what really motivates their clients.
Sustainability and profitability must work in pair and going for an eco-friendly plan will improve the customer experience and its daily life. Let us supporting responsible mobility without opposing the different modes of transport but by promoting the dedicated service to the right users.
The key is knowing our customers
It is important to give the people an incentive to go for sustainable choices. The industry‘s duty is to accompany and develop ecological behaviour. The customer needs and desires constantly evolve. Move freely, gain access, communicate, trade and establish relationships in a way that is compatible with the preservation of the environment are the expectations of the European consumers. Environmental value plays an essential role when consumers are purchasing. Opting for more transparency, they are increasingly spending their money with brands that reflect their values and think about the impact on the environment.
Customer centricity is a key part of driving customer experience excellence, but the company has to have an integrated data-driven understanding of the customer. Access to in-vehicle data will powerfully enrich the current client field knowledge and will allow all stakeholders to manage an inspiring customer experience.
Mobility services of a significant quality open up a wide range of possibilities for companies to develop sustainable services.
Policymakers are involved
European institutions are supporting innovation, the European Commission’s Horizon2020 initiatives devoting €80bn to funding research and development up to 2020.
It is important to encourage and grant recognition where it is deserved. CECRA is particularly attentive to the future of mobility. It gathers best practices observed in the field and share them with its members.
Mobility in Europe is at an important crossroad and policymakers are working on how to design more effective approaches to support innovation. Analysing the ecosystem, understanding the complex interactions between regional, national and pan European stakeholders, designing researches are just some of the challenge the European bodies are facing.
Finally, companies that aim to satisfy customers and at the same time help improve the world have proven to be some of the most innovative. They have the opportunity to provide solutions while growing. So what are we waiting for?
A platform of services
“In the years to come, trucks will all be green powered and fully autonomous, monitored by a fleet management team, whose job will be to identify and resolve problems remotely and analyse the data created by the truck to optimize their performance. Future will be connected; the workshops will also be fully digitized, with machines taking care of the repairs and engineers keeping them working. Interactions will be planned automatically through digital schedules that will keep exchanging information with trucks in need of preventive maintenance. The mobility market will consolidate. No matter the size, only companies providing clients with a platform of 24/7 services and paramount quality will remain.”
Gianandrea Ferrajoli, Vice-President and president of the CIV division, CECRA
Mobility for all by Station F
Innovation is a pillar of the future Mobility Orientation Law: this is why the CNPA is now using its start-up network to build a contribution adapted to the challenges of mobility for all. It is now necessary to think of “mobility pathways” and to have a vision of the sector if we want to respond to the evolution of users’ mobility needs (which are different in large urban centres, peri-urban areas, medium-sized towns, rural areas, etc.). Accessible, shared, connected, clean and safe, let’s build a responsible mobility strategy. StationF is the advanced expression of this with our Moove-lab “powered by” Via-Id.
Station F, CNPA’s mobility initiative – CNPA a member of CECRA
CECRA, established in 1983, is the European federation bringing together national professional associations, which represent the interests of motor trade and repair business and European Dealers councils. CECRA represents on a European scale 336,720 motor trade and repair enterprises. Together they employ 2,9 million people. CECRA provides representation to its members within the European Institutions with the aim of following-up as well as influencing the decision-making process.
For more information
Bernard Lycke Director General: firstname.lastname@example.org
Regulation of the new business models in the mobility sector is yet to be secured. Business initiatives are developing too quickly for the regulations to be up to speed. This is why judges are important to adapt the existing law until new rules are adopted. Parallel Avocats shares its views on the European Court of Justice of 20 December 2017 (aff. C-343/15, Asociacion Profesional Elite Taxi / Uber Systems Spain)
The « Uber » decision rendered by the European Court of Justice on 20 December 2017 was very awaited, as almost every information or Court decision concerning the Californian mobility platform. This ruling was, at least in appearance, going to the heart of the argumentation between Uber and its local competitors, the taxis, concerning the nature of the service provided by the platform: is Uber a transportation service company or a mere technological intermediary?
The simplified and inexact answer would be to answer “YES” to this question and to consider that the European Court put an end to this debate.
Reality is very much different because the decision of the ECJ is very technical from a legal perspective and has a narrow impact since it is only an interpretation of European law and not a ruling on the merits of a case.
In order to understand precisely this decision and to avoid any misunderstanding or mystification, it is worth looking at the precise legal issue the European court had to solve (1.), the motives that led the Court to conclude that Uber was a company “in the field of transport” (2.) and the key learnings one could take from this decision regarding platform regulation in Europe (3.).
1. A technical legal reasoning to address a precise issue
The European Court had been seized by a Spanish Court in order to issue a preliminary ruling on the question whether the service provided by Uber was to be considered as an “information society service” or a “service in the field of transport”.
This procedure is the one by which a national court refers a question to the European Court of Justice to know the interpretation of a European law provision. This takes place in what is called the “dialogue of judges” within the European Union, which enables a common interpretation of European rules.
2. Uber is a company “in the field of transport”
In the present case, the key consequence of the distinction between an “information society service” and a company “in the field of transport” is to know whether or not Member States are allowed to impose legal and regulatory limitations on the way a company operates without notifying it to the Commission (it would not be possible if the services qualifies as “information society service” because of the free movement of services principle within the Union). In other words, the main question was to determine whether or not Member States are in the position to regulate companies like Uber without any warning/notification to the Union.
The Court considered that “the intermediation service must be regarded as forming an integral part of an overall service whose main component is a transport service and, accordingly must be classified not as an information society service […] but as a service in the field of transport”.
The Court notably held that Uber was selecting drivers, providing an application, having a decisive influence on the characteristics of the service (notably the amount of the fare and the payment process) and controlling the good execution of the service provided by the drivers. In addition, the Court held that the service (here UberPop) was more than an intermediation service consisting of connecting, by means of a smartphone application, drivers and passengers.
The ECJ’s position is, despite the defence arguments, to assimilate Uber to other transportations operators such as taxis, Private Hire Vehicles or buses. Having said that, the ECJ underlines that Uber is not 100% transportation since it has an important part of the model relating to digital intermediary.
3. The impact of the decision. What’s next?
The European judges focused on a key aspect of the company’s business model: transportation from point A to point B. By doing so, their goal was to evaluate the level of implication of Uber in the transactions it enables. It is the way the service concretely operates that led the ECJ to its conclusion that the control Uber has over the service and the transactions qualifies as a service in the field of transportation.
We believe this decision is a useful reminder for platforms:
- that they are under increased regulatory scrutiny in Europe,
- that the level of control they have over supply and demand in their market is a major factor to anticipate when structuring the business model and
- that the regulatory requirements of each national market they penetrate need to be carefully weighed and analysed before taking decisions that may endanger their core business model.
Nevertheless, this decision is not as surprising or alarming as we can read in some newspapers (see for instance, the Guardian’s analysis). It does not state that Uber is a transport company but only that it operates in the “field of transport”, which means that Member States can adopt strict sectorial rules without notification to the Union. For instance, in France, platforms in the transportation of persons are considered as “booking centrals” and are held responsible, since 2017, for the good provision of the service by their drivers.
In substance, this decision is not the death penalty of Uber. It is merely a general authorisation given by the ECJ to Member States who wish to impose strict regulations on platforms in the transportation sector.
Such a decision should thus be welcomed as it provides clarification and invites European startups and other transportation companies to think of the role they want to play in the transportation operation that they enable. In other words, it can be summarised as follows: the bigger the intermediation, the higher the level of regulation.
On a more general level, this decision of the ECJ underlines the difficulties to regulate and to find the proper legal concept governing innovative business models in the digital economy. The issue is not only about Uber and transports, it is way broader. Indeed, the key underlying issue is to determine the level of responsibility of the digital intermediary, which may vary according to their role in the transaction. We believe that the European framework for digital actors needs to be amended as the historical distinction between editor and host (resulting from the e-commerce directive of 2004) is no longer adapted to the way platforms operate and to the way business is currently being conducted online. To build a strong digital market in Union, it is needed, in our views, to have a coherent and ambitious legal framework.
Arthur Millerand and Michel Leclerc are lawyers and founding partners at Parallel Avocats. Experts of the regulatory issues of the digital economy, they are co-authors of the blog www.droitdupartage.com (since 2013) and co-authors of the book « Collaborative Economy & Law » (January 2016).
Parallel Avocats (www.parallel.law) is a French law firm dedicated to the digital economy and the electronic platforms. Founding partners Arthur Millerand and Michel Leclerc believe that “Mobility is a key sector of the digital transformation: our experience of supporting shared mobility stakeholders has convinced us of the importance of law in the development of an innovative mobility company. We wish to put this experience to the benefit of startups which work for a sustainable mobility.“