“The thirst for innovation is stronger than ever.” The auto industry is facing the biggest transformation in its history. Ulrich Eichhorn and Henning Kagermann discuss the most pressing issues. Text: Jochen Förster, Tom Levine | Photos: Holger Talinski W der 6 here are e-mobility and CNG drives headed? How will today’s automakers become the mobility services providers of tomorrow? Will we still own cars ten years from now? And what can the Volkswagen Group learn from the software industry? When it comes to the top issues impacting future mobility, hardly anyone can match the expertise of the two gentlemen we are meeting this afternoon at DRIVE, the Volkswagen Group Forum in Berlin: Dr. Ulrich Eichhorn, Head of Research and Development at the Volkswagen Group, and Prof. Henning Kagermann, President of the Deutsche Akademie Technikwissenschaften (National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech)) and a leading thinker on mobility issues. They know each other from many expert discussions. They both hold science PhDs – one of them in mechanical engineering, the other in physics. And both value a frank and open exchange. Mr. Eichhorn, people have been predicting the beginning of the electric era for years, but so far e-mobility still hasn’t become a mass market anywhere, not even in its heartland of China. When will this change? EICHHORN My estimate is 2020. By then battery production will have become so cost-efficient that we will be able to offer EVs at affordable prices, and we will have a meaningful charging structure by then, too. In other words, the EVs we will be putting on sale from 2020 will have a range of up to 600 kilometers, and get an 80 percent charge in 15 to 20 minutes. And they will cost about the same as conventional drives. That does away with the three main reasons why customers are reluctant to buy electric: high price, low range and inadequate charging facilities. When it comes to EV numbers, Norway and China are way ahead of the U.S. or Germany. What can we learn from these trailblazers? KAGERMANN Market support from the governments in these countries is far more extensive.

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