The 20 sessions of the Global Future Mobility Conference (GFM) 2018 covered topics of future mobility from New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) over Intelligent and Connected Vehicles (ICVs) to Green Logistics and Shared Mobility. It was held in Hangzhou, the capital city of Zhejiang Province, from 20 to 22 September 2018. Organized by China EV100 and China Info 100 and supported by the Hangzhou municipal government, the conference brought together representatives from government, OEMs, innovative private firms and technology specialists. Its two plenary sessions focused on NEV innovation and future mobility transition, while the two executive sessions focused on the development of the NEV industry and NEV core technology and supply chain innovation.
During the first plenary session, the Global NEV Innovation Summit, Mr. Chen Qingtai, Director of China EV100, shared his opinions regarding the future development of the Chinese automotive industry. Chen contended that automakers should develop and adapt their business strategies according to two temporal reference points, namely 2020 and 2025. Firstly, as state subsidies expire in 2020, competition for vehicle quality, price and brand awareness among battery electric vehicles (BEV), extension range electric vehicles (EREV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEV) manufacturers will profoundly increase. As competition rises, competency and efficiency differentials among OEMs will grow and less competitive manufacturers will automatically be weeded out by market forces. Secondly, by 2025, Chen predicts that NEVs will become more cost-effective than ICEVs, forcing an industrial transformation upon the automotive market that will see a stronger NEV market presence. Moreover, he emphasised that the technical development of NEVs must revolve around two focal points, namely important functional parts, such as traction batteries, engines and electronic controls, as well as information, connection and intelligence technologies.
At the second plenary session, which revolved around the theme of a future mobility transition, Mr. Zhang Yongwei, Secretary-General and Chief Expert of China EV100, presented recent research regarding carmakers transitioning to becoming full mobility service providers. Zhang stressed that although it is inevitable that Chinese OEMs will transition from being pure automotive manufacturers to becoming full mobility service providers, this transition presents a major challenge, even a pitfall, if Chinese OEMs do not have sufficient transitionary capabilities. He claimed that while most OEMs are still planning their transition strategies, only few have successfully transitioned to becoming full mobility service providers. Those that have been successful, Zhang claimed, have either had advantages in the field of big data as a means to provide travel services such as e-hailing or car-sharing, or have built platforms that connect consumer (C) and business (B) ends.
A multitude of governmental officials, senior domestic and foreign scholars in the field of mobility, as well as representatives from traditional OEMs and innovative firms, have expressed their viewpoints during the sessions. Mr. Stefan Bernhart, Economic and Industry Counsellor at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Beijing at the NEV Industry Development Summit stressed the importance of developing unified international ICV standards, cooperating across various industries and countries, as well as building a fair competitive environment. Mr. Wu Ting, Partner at McKinsey&Co., pointed out that optimizing the cost of new service modes like car-sharing and smart delivery is a priority to promote the application of autonomous driving technologies. In addition, Mr. Xia Huaxia, General Manager of Autonomous Delivery at Meituan, an online food delivery service company, introduced Meituan’s efforts of exploring the field of urban unmanned distribution. These efforts include demonstrations which are mostly carried out in the range of 3 to 5 kilometres on urban roads, for the simulation of various traffic scenarios.