Future of Mobility

Posted By: Darius Lam|Dated: February 28, 2014

The automotive industry is at the crossroads of a rather dramatic shift, with change being driven by 3 broad factors.

Firstly, we have the macro factors that are impacting the way we commute today and will commute in the future – volatility around oil prices and availability itself, environmental concerns, government regulations, rapid rate of urbanisation with resultant grid locks on the roads and the increasing pressure on the transportation infrastructure.

We have consumer needs that have evolved or are rapidly evolving. Customers are demanding automotive solutions that are green, economical, have a high degree of individualisation / customisation and high on convenience, both in terms of access and use.

The auto industry is seeing the emergence of several technological advances – the increasing popularity of hybrid technology, the promise of electric vehicles, the rise of intelligent vehicles/systems and the development of a whole new way of organising and delivering automotive products and services.

        Chart 1 : Factors of Change at Work in the Automotive Industry

These developments have the potential to impact stakeholders at multiple levels – from auto industry experts to urban planners to policy makers to automotive suppliers to IT companies to customers who demand mobility solutions – which makes the “Future of Mobility” something that concerns all of us.

This note presents a framework to capture key developments in the mobility systems of the future.


The “Future of Mobility” is envisaged using a framework that consists of 5 C’s. The 5 C’s are:
• Clean
• Convenient
• Connected
• Clever
• Cost-effective

A short explanation of each of the 5C’s is provided below.

CLEAN: the future of mobility will see “clean” permeate the entire automotive value chain from the way mobility products are manufactured, used and retired. From the way manufacturing plants are designed, to the kind of raw materials and amount of energy used to build products, to how “green” are the cars when in operation to the quantum of recyclability of vehicles, mobility technologies that succeed in the future will be those that are the cleanest.

Chart 2 : CLEAN – Data from an IBM study on the Future of Mobility

CONVENIENT: in the time starved, experience hungry world of today, convenience is a key driver of customer choice. Technology is already making customer convenience the focus of the way cars are bought. It is possible today to virtually experience the car from the comforts of home – from trying out colours online, to comparing features and prices, reading about customer experiences, all at the click of a button. Flexible modes of ownership are developing, based on the customer’s situation and capacity. Cars are being serviced at the time and place of the owner’s convenience, at home.

IBM Automotive 2020 Global Study

Chart 3 : CONVENIENT – The kind of products, when they are wanted at the point where they are wanted

CONNECTIVITY: Mobile telephony and the Internet have dramatically altered the meaning of the word, connected. Connectivity technologies, riding on mobile telephony and computer technologies, are increasingly penetrating the world of automobiles through dramatic improvements in telematics and related technologies. The cars of tomorrow will be “connected cars” – connected to their owners, connected to other cars, socially connected to other car owners.

Chart 4 : CONNECTED – Auto OEMs will need to form digital platform, connectivity, and content partnerships

CLEVER: in the near future, cars will be cleverer than their owners; something already being experienced in the case of everyday appliances which are becoming increasingly ”clever” thanks to the use of computer chips and software. There is a rapid advance in the use of electronics to improve “embedded intelligence” in vehicles. Embedded intelligence has led to dramatic improvements in driver assist systems, intelligent interaction with traffic systems and remote diagnostics. And the “driverless car” maybe just around the corner!

Chart 5 : CLEVER– An IBM study expects” Software” to be the key focus of innovation

COST-EFFECTIVE: all the technological developments around mobility products and services become meaningless if access to these innovations is limited. The hi-growth markets for mobility products and services will essentially be the BRIC bloc and other developing nations, where “affordability” will continue to remain high on the agenda of even evolved consumers. Companies that can perfect business models of delivering high levels of innovations at affordable prices will become the choice of consumers across the globe.

Chart 6 : COST EFFECTIVE – Projected demand for mobility product types in BRIC countries in 2020


1. Clean (Design, Manufacture, Use and dispose vehicle)
a) Lower number of parts – less amount of energy to manufacture
b) Use of light-weight materials to improve the efficiency, sophisticated regenerative braking system, patented iEMS than reduces the amount of energy – product even amongst green products is one of the lowest users of energy
c) Variable speed high efficiency air conditioning to reduce the amount of energy
a) Pre-impregnated polymer panels that do not require a paint plant
b) Test equipments such as dynamometers put energy back in the product
c) IGBC plant (natural lighting, ventilation, LED, rain water harvesting)
d) Car gets its first charge for solar energy- Born Green
a) Use of renewable energy to charge the car– Sun2Car
b) Optional solar panels on the roof of the car
c) Upgradeability will allow use of newer technologies and extent the life of the car.
End of Life
a) High level of recyclability (Designed for EU norms)
b) Working of second life of battery (for solar and wind farms)

2. Convenient
a) Automatic, easy to park and drive, smallest turning radius, auto hill hold, etc
b) Keyless start, integrated infotainment and navigation,
c) Remote operation of AC

a) No need to visit a petrol station
b) Quick2charge- 50 km over a cup of coffee (Fast charge)
c) Revive – no need to worry about running out of energy
d) Remote diagnostics and service

3. Connected – (connecting cars to cars, cars to people, cars to the energy grid)
a) All telematics features
b) Social networking through the car

a) Energy comes from the sun, in testing goes back to the plant and is reused when charging – a connected energy eco-system
a) Cars connected to the grid- image 100,000 vehicles in Delhi that were electric – each able to provide 10KW – 1000MW of power to the grid and prevent a blackout
b) Intelligence of all cars that are connected – traffic updates, exchange data and best practices
c) There for you when you have an issue – Revive, remote diagnostics

4. Clever
a) Flexible technology platform that is future upgradeable

b) Space frame technology, batteries at the lowest point of CG, rear drive – allows for a small spacious and safe vehicle

c) Over 10 on-board computers monitoring and controllers over 200 parts of the car
a) Innovating manufacturing that reduces energy, complexity and cost
a) Remote diagnostics
b) Traffic updates
c) Car2home – use your car to power your house

5. Cost Effective
a) Innovative design processes that lowers cost
b) On board computers and latest technology that optimises performance and makes is more cost effective.
c) Use “technology” to make things affordable – example by optimising the energy using our patented iEMS, we reduce the amount of battery required and extent the life of the battery, thereby making it more cost effective

a) Small is the new big – new ways to manufacture vehicles – reduces investment and makes it more cost effective

Use (basically lower ownership cost):
a) Lower operating cost – 1/10th that of gasoline equivalent
b) Lower maintenance costs – Fewer parts, no need for oil changes, electrics are more reliable, regenerative braking reduces requirement of change of brake pads etc.
c) Lower repair costs – dent proof panels that are pre-impregnated with colour
d) Remote diagnostics – lowers service cost
e) Use of Sun2Car – free energy for the life of the car


About the Author

Darius Lam is General Manager – Group Communications at the Mahindra Group and as such he is responsible for the development of external and internal content for the Group and its various companies. He is a former automotive sector analyst and journalist with 20 years of experience within the automotive industry.

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  • Karthik Umachigi

    We can introduce a car to a world that could generate its fuel on its own……

    • Rahul Dixit

      yeah, it is possible, and i am working on it.

  • Christi Humstoe

    What if a car doesn’t need any type of fuel if it can work with oxygen. as oxygen is best for fire to be burnt. If it gets oxygen to start and can use it as fuel.

    I am Christi from Psd to Html Experts. Please give your views on that

    • ak

      u create energy when u make an unstable compound/material/substance into a stable one , so u need to find out a substance with potential energy less than oxygen and stabler than oxygen , and the process should go no without work done by us …

    • ak

      oxygen will react with fuels and form low potential energy / high stabler compunds , hence enrgy will be released . so i think its not possible

    • shivam

      I is possible bt there are many disadvantages of using o2 and the main is that is used in shuttles to boost it. The technology isused is costly and hazardous

    • Gagan

      It does not work. oxygen is good for combustion. But it does not work without the presence of hydrogen or carbon atoms. Otherwise
      1.using electric cars in short and city distances, power-plants produce less pollution than IC engines
      2. Using Hybrid cars, Mixing power inputs
      3. Bio diesel from garbage
      4.Solar car
      for better results

    • Rahul Dixit

      Hello Christi Humstoe, Myself Rahul Dixit, I am an mechanical engineer, m just working on my own ideas to develop new technology. As you said, use “OXYGEN” as a fuel! Well its really a blunder that it’s not possible to use “OXYGEN” as a fuel to run a vehicle, the reason behind this are-
      1. “OXYGEN” is the only gas which helps in the burning process, but it’s not a fuel, as it’s incombustible.
      2. “OXYGEN” produces “CARBON-DIOXIDE” on combustion. And it would affect the atmosphere.
      3. Using of “OXYGEN” as a fuel would also be difficult, as the separation process of oxygen is not so easy and is also time consuming.

      i would say instead of using “OXYGEN” as fuel it can be used as a catalyst which can increase the power and will also produce more energy in combustion process.

  • Abhiram

    Thats a good start in Indian market and i have a concept about an electric car which generates electricity to charge its own battery. Hope that we should be the first to introduce to the world.

  • Gagan

    If we use combined and hybrid power-plants for electricity, Then we get enough power with the same plants at present just by remodeling by them. I have some ideas to work on it. If any body interested, contact me at santoshmangena@gmail.com. I want a 24 hr light in india without any powercuts.

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