Germany - Home of the Automobile
2011 marked the 125th anniversary of the birth of the automobile in Germany. As the home too of the world's first four-stroke internal combustion engine, Germany continues to occupy a unique position in the international automotive arena. Today, Germany's automotive industry stands on the cusp of a new era. Drive train electrification (hybrid, battery and fuel cell vehicles) reduces dependence on oil, reduces emissions and allows the vehicles of tomorrow to be fully integrated into a multimodal traffic system.
Smart mobility promises nothing more than a mobility revolution; with clean energy fueling the drive technologies of the future. An electric power train is up to four times as energy efficient as a conventional combustion engine - meaning less energy required per distance traveled. Moreover, smart vehicle batteries can be integrated into the power grid to increase stability - an increasingly important argument as we make the transition to renewable energies.
Electromobility means much more than simply developing new drive technologies. It also represents a major paradigm shift for the transport and energy sectors. As such, it provides a number of opportunities to introduce new vehicle categories and develop alternative transport schemes. New value-added supply chains allow industry and economy sectors to come together for the first time, with individual quality of life and modes of mobility becoming greater and more varied. Close networking of the auto, machinery and plant, energy (conventional and alternative energy sources), electrical, chemical, ICT sectors and their corresponding R&D resources is guaranteed and bundled according to individual competences.
This is of strategic importance and all the more remarkable for the fact that electromobility as a cross-sectional technology brings together two industry sectors with little historical connection: the automotive and energy utility sectors. Early integration of all relevant actors prepares the basis for broad acceptance and swift implementation of electromobility. Germany has set itself the goal of becoming the lead market and provider for electric mobility by 2020 as part of its long-term zero emission mobility vision.
Driving the "Car of the Future" in Berlin - CNN International Video
As part of CNN International’s "Business 360 - Future Cities" series, CNN anchor (business journalist) Richard Quest (Quest Means Business) looks at Germany's motoring past and future as he takes a spin in a sophisticated computer-controlled car - developed at the Freie Universität Berlin - which drives itself (video below).