Imagining a New Mobility Ecosystem
On a frigid Christmas Eve in Paris 120 years ago, Louis Renault steered his Voiturette Type A deftly along the ancient Rue Lepic and into the history books. It was a different Paris then, one of cobblestone streets crowded with horse-drawn carriages. The maiden voyage of Renault’s first automobile, complete with a revolutionary direct-drive transmission, was a harbinger of the automotive renaissance to come. The first hint of a world in which billions of people would buy their own cars and roadways would spring up in some of the most remote corners of the globe to accommodate them.
Today, a confluence of trends is catalyzing a very different automotive renaissance. This time, the idea of car ownership is accompanied by the emergence of a demand for new forms of mobility like car-sharing and ride-hailing services. Users will no longer be forced to worry about procuring a vehicle, maintaining it or even driving it, unless, of course, they want to. Renault, for example, aims to deploy fully autonomous robo-vehicles in markets around the world within the next five years, transforming commutes into safer and more enjoyable opportunities for productive work, leisure or even sleep.
This revolution is an urban one, driven by the needs of travelers in densely populated areas. Within the next three decades, it’s estimated that 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. Groupe Renault envisions the urban mobility ecosystem of the future as a unified service capable of addressing the needs of consumers, companies and governments alike. Affordable, zero-emission vehicles will be readily available, through outright ownership and on-demand shared services. Autonomous electric cars will be safer, easier to use and better for the environment.
Within the next three decades, it’s estimated that 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities.
As cars become a service instead of a status symbol or necessity, building new roads will inevitably take a backseat to delivering more pressing infrastructure solutions, such as electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and smart energy grids to power them. Not that cities will need more roads: In fact, as ride-sharing fleets take many individually owned cars out of circulation in urban areas, cities will be able to reclaim unused streets for much-needed public space.
This new mobility ecosystem, to quote Hemingway, will take shape gradually, then suddenly. EVs are already on the road in virtually every major city in the world. Level 2 autonomous vehicles, capable of steering, accelerating and braking on their own in certain circumstances, number in the thousands, not only assisting drivers navigate a myriad of circumstances, but also gathering data that will eventually help enable full autonomy.
For their part, services like Renault Mobility allow drivers to rent a car anytime, anywhere through a mobile app. And solutions like Mobiliz offer economically disadvantaged users affordable access to car-sharing. It’s no surprise the global market for managed mobility services is projected to reach $10.8 billion by 2020, according to a study by Global Industry Analysts. Just a few years back, the category did not exist at all.
The future of shared mobility augurs a streamlined, egalitarian reimagining of urban life, and it’s just around the corner. We look forward to seeing you there.
Managed mobility services: a global strategic business report – Global Industry Analysts Inc, 2016