On February 16th a young and spirited crowd gathered at the Kunstverein in Hamburg, Germany, to discuss the future of mobility and personal transportation services. On site sharing their visions were Markus Barnikel (CEO at Munich based carpooling.com), Robin Chase (co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar as well as founder and CEO of Buzzcar, Paris), and Andreas Leo (Corporate Communications Manager at car2go, a subsidiary of Daimler AG).
The panel discussion focused on quite evolved mobility concepts that are now well established in everyday life: Zipcar is the world’s largest car sharing service; carpooling.com provides the platform for a steadily offered 600,000 ride shares across Europe; and almost one year into regular service, car2go currently reaches more than 60,000 registered users in nine cities with their innovative car sharing service. But besides the appeal as business models that these ideas have turned into, they have the potential to make a real contribution to users’ lives as well as to the environment.
Buzzcar is such an example that addresses consumers’ mobility needs without having to own a car. As a logical evolvement from Zipcar, Buzzcar relies on a stock of private cars which are offered for sharing with others. As a result, users can access their perfect fit from a pool of cars and thus manage resources efficiently. The other speakers did not lack in creativity either. Markus Barnikel and Andreas Leo elaborated on the next advances in the future of mobility: the perfect interconnection of multiple modes of transport, all accessible at the click of a button and in real-time.
All speakers and the following discussion stressed the role of technological advances that accompany the future of mobility. Making intelligent use of IT is fundamental. Users are essentially empowered in getting their say through the platform based approach and socialising aspects of the displayed models. Though these were somewhat competing concepts this gives us freedom of choice and a lot of diversity in mobility. The fact that all participants displayed a vast interest and openness towards new ideas proves once again that stakeholders in the automotive industry build on our opinions to create a common future of mobility.
Lennart Blech is a 27 year old PhD candidate in Economics at the University of Basel. As an OFMN delegate, Lennart has been involved with the community since the beginning.