Tomorrow’s Mobility: How Porsche is Facing Up to New Challenges

Mobility is currently a major focus of attention. It is central to the daily lives of millions of people and technological development is radically changing the possibilities. At Europe’s largest tech conference “The Next Web” that took place online this year, the Director Mobility Services at Porsche, Philip Kastel, joined a panel discussion to talk about the mobility of the future — and Porsche’s vision for it.

What is Porsche’s vision of the future of mobility services?

Mobility. Something that everyone is talking about and which above all means one thing: the ability to keep moving. In this context, mobility does not just describe movement from A to B. Instead, all those involved must remain mobile in all other areas as well and adapt themselves to changing requirements more quickly and more flexibly. This also especially applies to car manufacturers like us, Porsche. We too are affected by demands resulting from changed customer behavior, competitive pressure, and the increasing desire of cities to shape the boundary conditions for mobility. To ensure that we are able to optimally meet future customer needs, we are devoting a great deal of attention to the questions and challenges of future mobility.

And it is not only us who are curiously exploring what’s ahead of us and how to master it, excited to shape a better future. The future of mobility was one of the main topics at this year’s digital TNW Conference, Europe’s largest tech event, where Philip Kastel, Director Mobility Services at Porsche, joined a panel discussion with Michelle Avary (World Economic Forum), Sohaila Ouffata (BMW) and Stan Boland (Five). Hosted by the Financial Times Global Motor Industry Correspondent Peter Campbell, they debated on trends, plans, and visions for tomorrow.

Urbanization has a particularly large influence on mobility

The different perspectives and experiences of the panelists proved once again: Many things are in flux when it comes to people’s mobility behavior. In the urban environment, nowadays it is not absolutely essential to own a car. At the same time, a large number of new offerings make mobility easier, more comfortable and cheaper. Established car manufacturers are creating innovative services and increasingly linking them with each other.

There are new market participants such as Uber, Lime or Lyft. Classic mobility providers are also extending their core business with other products and services — these include car rental firms or public transport organizations, for example. Cities and municipalities are also increasingly recognizing the importance of mobility for the quality of life in urban spaces. As a result, they are also becoming important stakeholders when it comes to creating and realizing mobility offerings.

A new mobility portfolio to fight traffic congestion and environmental pollution

When dealing with the topic of tomorrow’s mobility, a major focus is on cities. This is because more than half of the world’s population already lives in cities today. Experts expect that this trend will continue in the future. In some high-growth regions such as China, the share will probably increase to more than 70 percent. A growing number of people are moving from rural regions into urban areas. This is above all due to the economic strength of cities. A comparison of gross domestic product figures shows that the economic output of New York is equivalent to that of Canada, for example.

The traffic infrastructure is coming under increasing strain, and parking spaces are becoming rarer. Traffic congestion times and environmental pollution are also increasing. The mobility portfolio is therefore also changing. New means of transport and services are being introduced, also including battery-electric aircraft (VTOLs: Vertical Take-Off and Landing) in the long term. The latter could significantly change the premium mobility experience in urban living environments. In addition, new offerings such as sharing services for scooters and bicycles as well as shuttle services are establishing themselves.

Changing customer needs and values demand new offerings

Due to increasing digitalization, customers are increasingly accustomed to different offerings being linked to each other. For mobility also, the focus in the future will be less on individual products — instead, it will be more about how these are connected in an overarching ecosystem. The boundaries between hardware, software, and services are becoming more and more blurred. Customers increasingly expect to be able to book mobility via apps at the push of a button. This too is actively changing their mobility behavior.

The value system is also changing along with the generational change in society. The importance of intangible goods is increasing, for example. For many people, it is more important to have time and to be able to plan their lives for themselves than to own consumer goods. The latter is still important as status symbols, but traditional preferences are changing. This means that owning a car is still relevant, for example, particularly in the premium segment. However, other consumer articles from the technology and luxury goods areas are becoming equally as important. People are also developing an increasing awareness of sustainability issues. The influence of one’s own mobility behavior on nature and the environment is becoming more relevant.

Porsche solutions for tomorrow’s mobility

In order to meet the many new demands relating to mobility, we at Porsche are working on innovative mobility solutions in the Smart Mobility Services team. For example, we are continuously expanding our global offering of flexible mobility services under the umbrella brand “Porsche Drive. In North America, the services include “Porsche Drive — Single-Vehicle Subscription”, where members obtain access to a single Porsche model for one or three months. “Porsche Drive — Multi-Vehicle Subscription” is a monthly program that offers users the possibility of unlimited vehicle changes at the push of a button via an app. The premium rental service “Porsche Drive — Rental” offers shorter rental options than one month, such as for weekend outings or vacations. Launched in Stuttgart in 2014, the service is now available in many other locations in Germany, France, Switzerland, and North America.

Porsche Drive

The goal of the new mobility solutions and intelligent linking of the available services is to ensure that customers can benefit from comprehensive Porsche-like mobility in the long term. This is implemented via a central customer interface of Porsche Smart Mobility GmbH and corresponding integration in a digital ecosystem. The basis for technical implementation is an independent IT platform developed in agile teams. The current activities are establishing the foundation for comprehensive service coverage as well as the expansion of the portfolio content. As partners for roll-out and operations, we rely on our worldwide network of importers, other Group companies, and the competencies of Porsche dealers.

Tomorrow’s mobility has long since ceased to be the dreams of the future — but it is already fully underway. However, we are convinced that in the end, “the future” cannot be the sole responsibility of individual vehicle manufacturers. Service providers, new players, cities, and municipalities must work closely together in order to create a new mobility ecosystem.

That’s why platforms like “The Next Web”, diverse discussions, open innovation, and overall collaboration are so important — to move the debate and development forward.

About this publication: Where innovation meets tradition. There’s more to Porsche than sports cars — we’re tackling new challenges, develop digital products and think digital with a focus on the customer. On our Medium blog, we tell these stories. It’s about our #nextvisions, smart technologies and the people that drive our digital journey. Please follow us on Twitter (Porsche Digital, Next Visions), Instagram (Porsche Digital, Next Visions, Porsche Newsroom) and LinkedIn (Porsche AG, Porsche Digital) for more.

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