About the Future of E-Mobility
A conversation with Porsche CFO Lutz Meschke and e-hypercar pioneer Mate Rimac
Electric cars are turning into the fast lane, but will e-mobility finally thrive? In the new episode of the German edition of the Next Visions podcast by Porsche, e-hypercar pioneer Mate Rimac and Porsche CFO Lutz Meschke talk about the future of electric mobility and why the iconic Porsche 911 might at some point be the last car with a steering wheel.
„There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home“, said the head of a big computer company in 1977 — and there are many similar stories in the history of tech: Ideas often seem so coherent and self-evident to us today, that we forget how revolutionary they were decades or just a few years ago. Innovations that fundamentally changed the way we live and behave were initially controversial or simply dismissed.
So, where do we stand in terms of e-mobility? What was once thought to be rather inconvenient has become the central building block of the future of the automobile industry and mobility in general. When will electrically powered cars be a commonplace on our roads? And how will the technology evolve?
In the new episode of the Porsche Next Visions podcast, host Melanie Hähnel welcomes two masterminds who are passionate about e-mobility and renowned experts in the field: Mate Rimac, founder and CEO of Rimac Automobili and Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board and Member of the Executive Board responsible for Finance and IT at Porsche — he is one of the driving forces behind Porsche’s push into the electric and digital future.
Mate Rimac: The Electric Pioneer of the Balkans
Mate Rimac knows what it means to have an idea that others think is crazy or foolish. Becoming a mechatronics engineer he first stood out with his creative and innovative mind. As early as 2008 he was fascinated with the vision of an electric-powered sports car.
„I always wondered: Why is no one building cars that are not only environmentally friendly but also interesting, fast and sexy?“ — Mate Rimac
He talks about the rocky road of his company Rimac Automobili, that today is known for one of the world’s fastest electric vehicles. „In the beginning, I looked around and could not find quite the car I dreamed of. So I decided to build it myself.”, this famous quote by the Porsche founder Ferry Porsche also suits Mate’s story.
Rimac Automobili was the first venture capital investment by Porsche
Mate and Lutz Meschke are connected by their fascination for e-mobility. Lutz became responsible for Finance and IT of Porsche in 2009 but also is involved in digital topics. On top, he plays a key role in Porsche’s investment in startups and young companies — like Rimac Automobili, the first venture capital investment in a start-up by Porsche.
„Without electric drives, one will most likely have no future in the automotive industry“ — Lutz Meschke
In the talk with Mate and Melanie, Lutz gives fascinating insights into the strategy behind Porsche's annual investment of nearly one billion euros for digitalization and investments in emerging startups as well as the decision around six years ago to go all-electric with the development of the Taycan.
What comes after electrification?
But Lutz and Mate not only revel in the details of their cooperation and the past, but they also look towards the future of e-mobility and the effect of emerging technologies like connected cars, AI or autonomous driving. Those technologies might end up changing the automotive industry even more than electric engines do — and affect all forms of mobility.
This is especially true for cities, as the trend towards urbanization is advancing worldwide. The United Nations estimates that two out of every three people worldwide will live in a city in 2050. Recently, the New York Times visually sketched a future for Manhattan without parked cars. Urban space will change drastically because, in the future, cars will not only be on the road a few hours a day but will be permanently driving around, electrically powered, autonomous and connected. No more smell, fewer accidents, more accessibility. This holds new business potential: Who orchestrates traffic when everything is connected?
“We have to move away from the pure sports car manufacturer view and think more along the lines of: How can we orchestrate the mobility of the future?” — Lutz Meschke
But the fascination of iconic cars from Porsche or Rimac Automobili will remain — even when the world turns autonomous. Lutz says, that the iconic 911 might be the last car sold with a classic steering wheel. Driving powerful sports cars will not be left to algorithms so quickly.
If you want to dive deep into the future of electric mobility and learn about the story of the cooperation between Porsche and Rimac Automobili listen to the full episode of the podcast now available on all common platforms like Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify and Deezer. Please note that this podcast is in German.
In the next episode, our guests will be Dr Lucia Reisch talking about the concept of nudging and how it helps us to behave more environmental-friendly. It will go live on August, 19th 2020. Stay tuned!