Infotainment im Jeep Cherokee

Dhat is good news: Anyone who buys the Jeep Cherokee in Germany gets the top infotainment, telephony and navigation system as standard equipment. There are actually three different systems for the Cherokee that operate under the in-house name Uconnect: Version 7, Version 8.4 and 8.4 with navigation. Our vehicle had the latter, and the number indicates the diagonal of the on-board monitor in inches. It is touch-sensitive, and two rotary controls below the display also help if you do not want to tap the display to operate it.

Michael Spehr

The arrangement of the menus is interesting: the individual symbols are evenly distributed on the screen. What is important to you can be pushed into the lower menu bar, where the entries you have selected yourself remain permanently. This enables quick access. A number of vehicle functions can also be set on the monitor, including those for the air conditioning, although separate physical buttons are also available.

Overall, you can get to grips with the revised Uconnect quickly and easily. The navigation department does its job unspectacularly and well, but only traffic disruptions from the radio’s TMC channel are taken into account for route planning. Voice control ensures that the navigation destination is captured quickly and reliably. However, commands that go beyond navigation and telephony are not understood. In the telephone department we missed a search for contacts, apart from that, the equipment is pleasingly complete. Overall, the new Uconnect of the fourth generation offers a successful, no-frills configuration that is definitely pleasing.

Jeep Cherokee

Jeep Cherokee

Image: Manufacturer

If you want to provide passengers with WiFi, you can activate a hotspot in the infotainment system, but use of the LTE data connection is chargeable. The Uconnect app for smartphones can be used to check whether the vehicle is locked, navigation destinations can be sent into the car and the position of the parked jeep can be displayed. Consumption data can also be called up. Theft protection can also be set up for a fee, which uses push notifications to indicate unusual activities on the vehicle.

The individual symbols are evenly distributed on the screen.

The individual symbols are evenly distributed on the screen.

Image: Manufacturer

In the coming months, the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brand will switch its digital ecosystem to Samsung and Google. The new platform is then already equipped for the 5G cellular standard and uses the cloud via the Samsung subsidiary Harman. It should be possible to update the vehicle’s software via mobile communications, and the on-board system will in future work with Android. In the Jeep Cherokee, we were able to use Apple Carplay in addition to Android Auto, thanks to the touch-sensitive monitor without any problems, but only in the wired version.


General Motors cancels strategic collaboration with Nikola

BAllegations of fraud have apparently prevented America’s largest auto company General Motors from establishing closer ties with the young electric vehicle company Nikola. Instead of participating in the company, as announced in September, General Motors only wants to test the possibilities of cooperation in equipping Nikola trucks with a fuel cell system. Nikola reported that. The non-binding letter of intent replaces the announcement made public on September 8 of a strategic collaboration between the two companies.

Winand von Petersdorff-Campen

In addition to a stake in the amount of eleven percent of Nikola’s share capital, it also provided for the joint development of an electric pick-up truck called Badger. This would have put Nikola in direct competition with Tesla. The vehicle was also an important building block for General Motors’ electric strategy. Tesla is currently developing the so-called cybertruck. Nikola has now announced that it will reimburse General Motors for all advance payments.

Nikola shares temporarily lost 24 percent of their value after the news was announced. Nikola had already come under pressure in the autumn after allegations of fraud for allegedly misleading investors. The CEO and founder Trevor Milton resigned from his leadership position after the financial investor Hindenburg Research stated in a report that the company and its management had significantly exaggerated the level of maturity of their technological developments. Milton had drawn investors with a vision to revolutionize the entire truck market with vehicles that would run on batteries and hydrogen technology.

Hindenburg, however, spoke of a “complex fraud”. As a short seller, the financial investor benefits from the decline in the company’s stock. His report was titled: “Nikola: How to Partner with America’s Largest Automaker with a Sea of ​​Lies.” Hindenburg regularly targets companies where she suspects fraud or excessive exaggeration. A few days ago, Nikola announced that it had received subpoenas from the Justice Department and the SEC.

Nikola has not yet had a product that is ready for the market. The earliest production of a truck is to begin in 2021. The stock has lost around 75 percent of its value since hitting just under $ 80 in early June. In the best of times, the company was worth more than Ford. After the slump, the company was still about eight billion dollars. Nikola is also cooperating with the truck giant Iveco, whose parent company is involved in the start-up.


Fahrbericht Mitsubishis Outlander PHEV

MSometimes one sentence is enough to describe a car. He doesn’t understand this vehicle, says the colleague after driving it for a while. There is something to it, without a closer study of the function, enlightenment does not come about. On the other hand, it is good that understanding is not necessary, it is enough to just let the Outlander PHEV do it and drive off.

Lukas Weber

Editor in the “Technology and Engine” section.

If you want to know exactly: The movement starts electrically and remains largely that way. In addition to the electric motors with a maximum output of 60 kW at the front and 70 kW at the rear, there is a four-cylinder gasoline engine with 99 kW that drives a 70 kW generator and can be connected directly to the front wheels via a clutch and without a gearbox at the earliest from 65 km / h. All three together result in a system output of 224 hp (165 kW). Because the Outlander generates its own electricity, a relatively small battery of nominally 13.8 kWh is sufficient, which saves costs and weight.

The interaction works well, the PHEV drives quietly and relaxed like all electric cars, the engine keeps mumbling and charging. With a cautious driving style on country roads, a consumption of a little more than six liters of gasoline is possible, a good value for a 1.8-ton SUV. The concept is less suitable for higher speeds on the highway, full throttle drives the thirst for a terrible 15 liters. That’s not even particularly fast, the electronics shut down at 170 (electric 135) km / h; the Outlander is likely to be the slowest car beyond 200 hp.

Big mouth: the cargo space swallows a lot

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Driving report

Mitsubishis Outlander PHEV

The Outlander is not made for sales representatives, but families get a relatively narrow, but long five-seater, with which the daily commute to work can be done purely electrically. If that’s not enough, the generator just switches on. For electric driving or the two 230-volt sockets for kettles and the like, 9.8 kWh are available, which meant that we could travel a maximum of 42 kilometers. Because of the charging losses, the measuring device then shows 10.75 kWh at the household socket, and charging can also be carried out at the fast charging station.

The consumption of around 26 kWh came about in mountainous terrain, what is the use of recuperation downhill? The Outlander shows everything the driver wants to know in a large and colorful way, including the sum of the energy that has been recovered through braking and immediately recycled – in addition to the pedal, braking is possible via six levels that can be set on the “shift paddle”. For 100 kilometers through the Taunus, 5 to 10 kWh are generated, the twelve kilometers downhill from the Großer Feldberg to Oberursel brought 2.5 kWh.

The Outlander PHEV is a successful model, it has been around since 2007. After the latest revision, the inside appears polished. There is a new infotainment system with an eight-inch display that can call up videos from a USB stick in addition to the usual arts such as voice control and five years of free map updates. The operation is no longer as playful as in the predecessor, but the drive programs are still distributed over five buttons in the car – normal / snow / lock, including sport, front forced charging / energy conservation, next to it EV, front right Eco, and then there is yes nor the paddles on the steering column. In addition, the constant beeping and tinkling annoys us in the new model.

If Mitsubishi could simplify (operation) or leave it alone (beeping) in the future, a good car with a highly interesting technical concept would turn into a very good one – we would also have a larger battery on our wish list. All of this at an affordable price from around 37,000 euros, with the fully equipped Top version for around 50,000 euros. Each less electricity subsidies, of course.


Crew-1 a success, the era of space taxis begins – Space & Astronomy

Crew-1 mission successfully accomplished: the first operational flight with a vehicle built by a private company, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, brought a crew of four astronauts to the International Space Station on behalf of NASA. Thus begins the era of ‘space taxis’, which give back to the United States the ability to carry men into orbit, lost after the Space Shuttle left the scene in 2011. Since then, the monopoly of astronaut flights has been held from the Russian Soyuz shuttle.

The Crew Dragon capsule at the moment of docking to the Space Station’s Harmony node (source: NASA TV)

Launched from Cape Canaveral’s Kennedy Space Center on November 16, the Crew Dragon arrived at the Space Station after a 27 and a half hour journey. On board Commander Mike Hopkins, pilot Victor Glover and mission specialist Shannon Walker, all three of NASA, and mission specialist Soichi Noguchi, of the Japanese space agency Jaxa. The capsule hooked up to the Harmony node, the same node that the Shuttle once connected to and which in 2017 was modified by the American Peggy Whitson during a historic spacewalk. Since then the node has been ready to receive the new private shuttles: the Crew Dragon and the Boeing Starliner, which is completing the experimental phase and which, after the failure of the first unmanned test in December 2019, is planning a new test for the beginning of 2021.

This first operational mission of the Crew Dragon spacecraft comes a few months after the first Demo-2 demonstration mission, which at the end of last May had brought NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the Space Station. The NASA engineer Kate Rubins worked incessantly for about two hours, preparing the necessary for the opening of the hatch of the Space Station. With her they welcomed the four of the Crew-1 mission, the commander of the Space Station Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, both of the Russian space agency Roscosmos. There are therefore seven astronauts currently aboard the Space Station, after having had six crews for many years. In fact, the seats on the Soyuz have so far allowed the alternation of crews of three astronauts.

“A mission like this was a dream!” NASA Human Flight chief Kathy Lueders said at a press conference. “It was a dream – he added – to be able to have a crew transport service to the Space Station and today that dream is a reality”. When it arrived in 1981, the Space Shuttle looked like a fantastic space taxi, with weekly flights, but then the complexity of the machine, the high costs and tragedies of the Challenger in 1986 and the Columbia of 2003 cooled the excitement and slowed the program. Now space taxis are once again a real possibility.


BMW also provides electricity on two wheels

Mith the CE 04, the Munich-based company is presenting an electric scooter that radically breaks with habits in terms of design and is supposed to be pioneering in terms of electronics and smartphone connectivity.

Walter Wille

The vehicle shown here in the picture apparently corresponds to the series product, apart from the missing rear-view mirrors, indicators and the not yet mounted license plate holder. BMW does not want to provide information about prices and technical details until next year. The CE 04 is expected to go on sale in 2022. Markus Schramm, head of the BMW motorcycle division, announced a whole range of other electric two-wheelers for the future, including extraordinary concepts that “are neither scooters nor motorcycles”. “Let yourself be surprised in the next few years,” said Schramm.

The low, elongated CE 04 is intended as an everyday vehicle for city and short journeys. It largely corresponds to the futuristic “Concept Link” study, which BMW presented in spring 2017 as a fully networked, electrically powered scooter of the future. Its flat energy storage is in the underbody, the range is specified at 130 kilometers, the top speed at 120 km / h. Presumably, BMW will offer a 11 kW (15 PS) light scooter version for holders of the A1 driving license (from 16 years) as well as a stronger version for holders of motorcycle driving licenses.

Mantle of silence: As an electric vehicle, the CE 04 will not cause any noise.  BMW also supplies driver equipment.

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BMW also provides electricity on two wheels

With the CE 04, the manufacturer is demonstratively turning away from the classic and old-fashioned look of many scooters and focusing on a completely differently trained eye. Sharp edges alternate with generous surfaces, which can be designed in many ways like a canvas and decorated with sticker sets, for example. At least that’s how the developers imagine it.

In contrast to the usual, the BMW scooter only has a thinly padded, “floating” seat. His helmet compartment is not accessible from above by folding up the seat, but through a flap on the left side of the vehicle. The 10.25-inch monitor in front of the handlebar is a record-breaking scooter. The weather protection will probably not be too generous without a windshield, the rear wheel is exposed, the view falls unhindered on the single-sided swing arm, suspension strut, tires and the toothed belt of the drive.

From the outset, BMW also wants to offer suitable clothing, including a parka that is equipped with protectors but does not look like protective motorcycle clothing. According to the manufacturer, light guides built into the jacket can be switched on via sensors in the sleeve and changed in color. BMW left it open as to whether this jacket can be networked with the scooter, but stated that “the interaction between vehicle and driver equipment will in future offer great potential in terms of safety, comfort and emotional experience”.

Will the jacket one day light up when the driver brakes? When Concept Link was presented a good three years ago, it was said that driver’s clothing might at some point vibrate to attract attention or warn in dangerous situations. But it’s not that far yet.


Corona vacation in a motorhome with family

Dhe first trip in the motorhome ends on a meadow. After a few kilometers. Why was the Büchlberg exit also closed? And the GPS didn’t know anything about it. And then leads us on narrow dirt roads in the Bavarian Forest? So a clear decision: turning maneuvers before nothing works. With a length of 7.41 meters. On a three meter wide path. Thanks to the meadow, which makes the large turning circle possible and was not so muddy that the trip would have ended here.

Daniel Mohr

Daniel Mohr

Editor in the economy of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

After all, we wanted to take a corona-ideal autumn vacation – low-contact, flexible, for the first time in a mobile home. The acid test to get started succeeds. Before dark, the Weinsberg Carasuite 700 ME from the manufacturer Knaus Tabbert is on the campsite of the Schiermeier holiday farm on the southern edge of the Bavarian Forest.

Three other RVs are still there, where dozens of campers cavort in the summer. The children are thrilled. There are goats, ponies, cats, a small dog.

The farmer helps with the watering can

In order for the joy to continue, it is necessary to heat the motorhome. After all, the outside temperature levels off here at eight degrees at the beginning of October and the assumption is that the inside temperature will not be much higher soon. Two gas bottles are ready and can be set in motion as described for the handover. A sense of achievement for a technical layman. The connection of the power cables does not work quite as explained, but it works. A water hose is missing, however. Experienced campers will always have something like this with them. We are not. But the fresh water tank can be filled with a borrowed watering can from the farmer, so that there is enough water for the time being.

There is no cooking at first: the pizza service helps out.

There is no cooking at first: the pizza service helps out.

Image: Daniel Mohr

The beginning of the journey is an adjustment process. Two adults and three children aged eight, six and just under two years of age have to arrange themselves in around twelve square meters of living space. At first one wonders that this can be really fun for some people and that they choose it as a form of vacation. Only our muddy shoes take up the first square meter.

A floating bed above the kitchen table

Later the situation eased somewhat. An astonishing number of shelves are gradually being discovered. And of course the professionals have ample awnings to expand their living space. We don’t have to face the cooking situation. A pizza service provides dinner. The sleeping situation is wonderful for the children. In the back of the Weinsberg there is a sleeping meadow over the full width of the car from the inside 2.18 meters, on which the children can fight and sleep at some point. After the day’s work, the adults pull down from the ceiling in the front middle section of the car what is known as a lifting bed. Using a ladder or other climbing techniques, you can get onto this 1.42 meter wide bed, which is about 1.50 meters high above the dining table. The distance between the bed and the ceiling is 60 centimeters. This should be borne in mind when suddenly startled at night.

Just under the ceiling, high above the floor: the fold-down bed for the parents.

Just under the ceiling, high above the floor: the fold-down bed for the parents.

Image: Daniel Mohr

When you fall asleep at the latest, you also notice why the motorhome industry borrows many terms from shipping. In any case, our ship also sways in the harbor. Even when the smallest 16 kilogram passenger is moving. You can probably not get seasick from it. But you are not used to it from your ground floor bed at home. Just as little as the volume of the rain that pounds on the motorhome roof at night, a few centimeters from the ear.


Intel’s first graphics card in 20 years turned out to be a complete disappointment

, Text: Elyas Kasmi

Intel has returned to the graphics card market with the Iris Xe Max for notebooks, although it hasn’t released discrete graphics since the early 21st century. Its novelty failed the performance test and was able to rise only to the entry-level GeForce level.

“Triumphant” return

The Iris Xe Max discrete laptop graphics card released by Intel at the end of October 2020 is the entry-level system. As the profile resource VideoCardz writes, it can only compete with basic Nvidia solutions, which are installed in laptops only to lure the buyer with the inscription “with a discrete video card” on the package.

The new Intel card was tested in a number of benchmarks, including the gaming 3DMark. It was tested as part of the Acer Swift S3x laptop, one of the first in the world with the Iris Xe Max included. In the 3DMark Time Spy test, the card scored 1826 points, and in 3DMark Fire Strike – 6611 points. By the standards of 2020, this is the entry level, which means that the card is almost completely unsuitable for running modern video games at high graphics settings.

We add that Intel has not released discrete video chips for almost 20 years.

On the level of a weak GeForce

The bottom line for Intel’s first discrete graphics card in 20 years is comparable to Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 Mobile and GTX 970M. These are also basic video chips.

Intel’s tests are depressing

Also, Iris Xe Max scores are similar to those of the budget GeForce MX450. Its debut took place at the end of August 2020, and is based on the TU117 chip, the same as the desktop GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, but it has only a 64-bit bus.

Perhaps the following Intel graphics cards will be more productive

According to the ITHome portal, the new Intel is slightly ahead of the graphics card built into the AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750G processor. If we compare it with the aforementioned GeForce MX250, then its performance is 2.3 times higher, but do not forget that this brainchild of Nvidia has long been outdated.

Features of the new Intel

Technically, the Iris Xe Max premiered back in September 2020, when Intel unveiled its latest mobile processors, the Tiger Lake family. It almost does not differ from the built-in video card, having the same 96 computing units, but at the same time a slightly increased clock frequency – 1.65 GHz.


Intel Iris Xe Max

Iris Xe Max has its own 4 GB memory, but we are not talking about support for GDDR5 and even more so GDDR6 – only LPDDR4X, and these modules are used in smartphones, tablets and laptops as RAM. The bandwidth of these chips in this case is low – 68 GB / s.


The main rival of the new Intel, GeForce MX450

Intel manufactures its new card using a 10-nanometer process technology, the most modern for the company. Iris Xe Max has support for PCI-E 4.0 interface, DirectX 12.1 libraries, as well as HDMI 2.0b and DisplayPort 1.4. The maximum supported resolution is 7680×4320 pixels at 60 frames per second.

The first laptops to receive the Iris Xe Max, along with the Acer Swift 3X, were the Asus VivoBook Flip TP470 and Dell Inspiron 15 7000. During the presentation, Intel representatives announced that in the first half of 2021, a discrete graphics card with the Intel logo will be released. But in terms of characteristics, it will almost completely copy the mobile Iris Xe Max.

Twice in one river

Intel has experience in the development of discrete video cards – its first such card, called the i740, was released back in 1998.

Intel’s first discrete graphics card in history

The novelty was immediately released in versions with PCI and AGP interfaces to reach the widest possible audience and had very advanced capabilities for those times. In 1999, Intel consolidated its success with the release of i752 and i754 cards with AGP 4X and AGP 2X interfaces, respectively, but at the beginning of the 21st century it began to pay more attention to embedded solutions, gradually leaving the discrete video card market and giving way to Nvidia and ATI. The latter was bought in 2006 by AMD, Intel’s main competitor in the processor segment.

To return to the market in which it started so successfully, Intel decided in December 2018, introducing a new brand Xe. At that time, as reported by CNews, it did not disclose any details about the new cards – it was only known that they would be 10nm, although at the time of the premiere of the Intel brand it was very far from fully mastering this technical process. But we should give it its due – the company actually kept this promise in the end.


Lukashenka shows what he is ready for

AIn the twelve weeks of protest since the falsified presidential election in August, a lot has been used against peaceful demonstrators on the streets of Minsk: batons, water cannons, tear gas, noise and stun grenades, rubber bullets. But on Sunday, before the start of another protest march, armored vehicles with machine guns mounted were photographed for the first time in the Belarusian capital. This weapon was not used until evening. But the increasingly martial threats lie in the logic of the regime.

For example, dictator Aleksandr Lukashenka made a particularly drastic attempt at intimidation last Thursday. He assembled security officials, introduced a new interior minister, and awarded general titles. When addressing the demonstrators, he spoke of “red lines” that “for God’s sake no one should cross”. But “they”, the demonstrators, have crossed these lines many times.

Lukashenka cited attempts to “destroy and destabilize the infrastructure of the state” as examples, presented the protest movement again as a “color revolution”, as a western orchestrated coup attempt, threatened: “From now on, especially in the homes of citizens, where they hide , let’s not take prisoners. “

“We don’t intend to back down”

Lukashenka was apparently alluding to a recent case documented in the video, in which security forces acted with great brutality against demonstrators who were hiding in an apartment in Minsk. Anyone who touches a soldier, Lukashenka continued, “must at least leave without hands. I say this publicly, so that everyone understands our future determination. ”Next:“ We have nowhere to fall back, and we have no intention of falling back. ”

In fact, she appeared with renewed energy in the days after the end of the “popular ultimatum” of opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaya, who was exiled in Lithuania. Lukashenka had not declared his withdrawal within the deadline set by Tichanovskaya on October 25, had not ended the violence against peaceful demonstrators, and had not released the political prisoners. However, political advisor Vitali Shkliarov, an American citizen, who was arrested at the end of July, was allowed to leave Belarus. But since last Monday there have been work stoppages in several state-owned companies. It was not a mass phenomenon, not a general strike. But the result was remarkable given the regime’s extensive leverage.

No empty words

The regime responded with its means; Tichanovskaya had 85 workers last Friday who were reported to have been dismissed on strike. Protesting students were de-registered on Lukashenka’s orders. The behavior of the regime shows that these are not empty words: at the end of the week Belarusians reported that they would not be able to return to their country from Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine and Latvia. The border guards spoke of temporary restrictions for certain people due to the corona pandemic. According to the news portal, Belarusian students who study in Poland and wanted to go home were actually affected. Since Sunday, foreigners are officially only allowed to enter Belarus by land in exceptional cases, but continue to enter Belarus via Minsk Airport.

Despite everything, there was another demonstration in Belarus on Sunday. In Minsk, the march called “Ancestors March Against Terror” by the “Nexta” opposition medium had a highly symbolic goal that Monday before the “Day of Remembrance of the Ancestors”: Kurapaty. In the wooded area near Minsk, Stalin’s secret police NKVD shot and killed tens of thousands of Belarusians from 1937 to 1940 and buried them in mass graves.

Kurapaty is also a point of friction with Lukashenka’s regime, which had dozens of memorial crosses removed there and 15 activists arrested last year. Security forces wanted to stop the march and used noise and stun grenades. Human rights activists numbered more than a hundred arrested.


Old cities, new mobility: the private car must be dethroned | Trends

J gets up just in time to get to the first business meeting of the day. Call a taxi on your mobile while taking the last sip of coffee. After tomorrow’s day, and taking advantage of the good weather, he uses an electric scooter to get to the restaurant where he is meeting a friend. Bike back to the office – there was no carsharing by hand – and, at the end of the day, he decides to return home with a VTC, which at that moment is at a good price due to low demand.

Any given day for any person can involve many mobility decisions, using various means of transport without owning any of them. It is also a data exchange trail, and in the 21st century data is very useful. Collected by sensors, interpreted by machines, managed in the cloud and placed at the service of cities and citizens, the data promises us better mobility, cleaner air, and better quality of life. Compared to classical mobility, based on the ownership of a vehicle, they allow the so-called mobility as a service (MaaS, mobility as a service), that is, choosing between several options to go from A to B using companies of all kinds. And data also drives smart cities, which will not only collect garbage better and regulate public lighting more efficiently: they will also reduce temporary distances through intelligent management of spaces and vehicles.

Pedestrians walk along the Paseo de la Castellana, in Madrid, which was closed to traffic in May.

And it’s just the beginning: the deployment of 5G networks will bring the development of autonomous cars even closer, fully connected to their environment thanks to the Internet of Things. They will not emit polluting gases, because the future is electric motors. The development of smart electrical distribution networks and home self-generation using solar panels will make them much more competitive.

We lived in that future, with a growing supply of mobility services, until the demand drastically changed. The fault was a virus. We stayed locked in the house and, very little by little, we began to go out. And we discovered, suddenly, that life could be lived on foot, one kilometer from home; that private vehicles, almost unused week after week, took up too much public space; that spending two hours a day in the car to go to work was, on many occasions, unnecessary. Miracles happened: It was raining and the city smelled of dirt, not carbon dioxide. There was the chirping of birds, not the honking of cars.

We lived in that future until a virus forced us to return to the past. And now the demand for mobility may not be exactly what it was. If 50 years ago we cut down trees and destroyed boulevards to make room for the car, the symbol of modernity and status, now we want wider sidewalks and pedestrianized walkways. And we need more square meters for bikes and electric scooters. But not all is good news for air quality: distrust of crowds is a threat to public transport, essential to combat pollution; The logistical challenge of the e-commerce boom also raises sustainability issues.

When the mobility of the 21st century struggled to prevail over the urbanism of the 20th century, based on the use of the private car, the pandemic came to change our view. The model is being defined, and technology offers all kinds of alternatives. It will be the societies who choose how they are organized, and the mobility of the future depends on that decision.

King car wobbles

April was ending, masks were still in short supply and the Minister of Transport and Mobility, José Luis Ábalos, appeared before Congress to give details of the then imminent de-escalation. “The private car is not a sustainable solution for the future, but in this parenthesis and in these circumstances it is an option,” he said, causing the stupor of environmentalists. Some executive in the sector remembers it with surprise several months later. Although Ábalos is still haunted by the phrase, at least he spoke of “parenthesis.” It is not entirely clear if this parenthesis due to the pandemic is definitely closed, but it is clear that the design of the mobility of the future, over and above ideologies and differences between countries, has much less space reserved for the private vehicle.

Like tobacco

The pandemic has reinforced that idea that the car should no longer be king. So much so that Jesús Herrero, general secretary of ATUC, the Association of Urban and Interurban Public Transport, even sees parallels between the change in perception towards tobacco in past decades and what is happening now with the private car. “The current mobility model is unsustainable”, he says, and not only due to environmental problems: “We have 85% of the public space dedicated to the car, four square meters most of the time standing on the road or, many times, with a single person circulating ”. According to data from the European Commission, vehicles are parked 92% of the time, and effectively only 5% circulating, with an average occupancy of 1.5 people per trip. “Mobility by car is the option that takes up the most space and wastes the most space, as well as the most harmful to the environment”, sums up José Carpio-Pinedo, university professor and consultant specialized in sustainable mobility.

To counter this trend, the motor industry has been pursuing two qualitative leaps for years: the electrification of motors and autonomous driving. The first phenomenon is already beginning to be a reality: according to data from Anfac, the employer’s association for car manufacturers, in the first nine months of 2020 sales of fully electric cars grew by 32%, almost the same as those of vehicles fell of gasoline and diesel, 38%. They still represent very little for the market as a whole – 1.67% – but the National Integrated Plan for Energy and Climate 2021-2030 foresees a fleet of five million electric vehicles within ten years, which would mean around 15% of the total. Energy companies are already taking positions on the electrification of the car. It requires a significant adaptation of their network, which has to be superimposed on the mobility network, as explained by Juan Ríos, Director of Planning and Regulation of Iberdrola i-DE, the former Iberdrola Distribución Eléctrica. “We have to start generating a public vehicle recharging network even before there is demand. And we already have mobility control centers that allow us to know patterns of use that we need to plan more efficiently ”, he says. But the big change will be the arrival of autonomous driving: “I have no doubt that it will be a reality in 2030”, predicts Begoña Cristeto, partner in charge of automotive at KPMG Spain.

Thanks to the deployment of the 5G network and sensorization ubiquitous on public roads, cars will not need a driver and services like carsharing, whose profitability is currently hampered by the need for operators who eventually move vehicles from one point to another, will become even more widespread. “The vehicle is going to become the least valuable thing in the mobility industry. Manufacturers know and are concerned. If they don’t sit well, they will simply be the producers of the carcass. And they do not want to be the ones who deploy an infrastructure so that later it will be others who make it profitable, as has happened in other businesses, “explains Cristeto.

The double side of teleworking

The car was one of the losers from confinement: teleworking proved that it is not an essential tool in working life, and when we started to go out on the street we realized all the space it occupied, a public space that we could not enjoy as pedestrians or on the terraces. “Teleworking is good news in terms of the most environmentally unsustainable transport, but it is bad news for those who have to be financially sustainable,” says Carpio-Pinedo. Fewer travelers, less tickets sold by public transport and more problems for the public coffers, which will not go through good times.

A history of technology, mobility and dirty streets

In August 2013, a new comprehensive contract for the cleaning and maintenance of public spaces in Madrid came into force, with a term of eight years. The City Council, then headed by Ana Botella (PP), presented it as a great advance, since it meant a reduction of 300 million euros for municipal coffers, thanks, it was explained, to the fact that the use of technology would allow dedicate fewer staff to these tasks. However, the deterioration in the quality of service was immediately apparent. Madrid began to have a problem of dirt in its streets that, like the contract, survives, and the unrest of the workers led to a strike that plagued the city with garbage for 13 days that November.

Inés Sabanés, now a deputy in the Más País Congress, inherited that contract in 2015 when Manuela Carmena appointed her as delegate for the Environment and Mobility of the Madrid City Council, with responsibility for urban cleaning. In his opinion, this contract is a good example of the limits of technology to solve the big problems of cities: “That failed because they forgot that it is labor intensive work. Technology is a tool, a complement. The fundamental thing is to have a city strategy ”.


The new VW Caddy appears more modern than ever

The new VW Caddy appears more modern than ever