— News

— Environment & Energy

— Industry & Innovation

What does the future hold for the automotive industry in Europe?

The automotive industry is undergoing two major transformations. The transformation underway is at the heart of a global geostrategy in which Europe must take part.

Contrary to what we often hear in the political debate in France, the automotive sector is a sector of the future. While it is being chased out of Paris without a global reflection on its place in the clean transport of the future, it is growing around the world. Global sales are expected to grow from 70 million in 2004 to 97 million in 2020.

We need to stop thinking of pollution when we say car: clean vehicles are already in production. But we must not make a strategic mistake: cars produced in France consuming three liters per 100 kilometers, and whose emissions are almost entirely filtered, pollute less on the production cycle than electric vehicles equipped with batteries from China, produced in plants running on coal electricity, like that consumed by vehicles.

Self-driving cars and electric vehicles

Two major transformations in the sector are underway: the autonomous car and the electric vehicle. Self-driving cars alone will form a massive ecosystem with vehicle manufacturers and their subcontractors becoming key players in the digital economy.

Manufacturers, as well as subcontractors, must acquire the scientific and technical skills that are at the heart of the digital economy, particularly in artificial intelligence, sensor programming and calibration, radars, sonars, lidars (laser remote sensing) and all the cameras that capture the information necessary for positioning calculations.

The cost of electronic components currently embedded in mid-range vehicles is €1,500 and will exceed €8,000 for complete autonomous systems: this will be a massive source of value creation over the next ten years. This is a whole new electronics industry in which a developed country must impose itself if it does not want to regress: ten million jobs are at stake for the European Union alone by 2025.

Sino-American rivalry

The transformation underway is at the heart of global geostrategy. The
Sino-American rivalry in the digital transformation is being played out in particular
in three joint areas: artificial intelligence, 5G and
self-driving car. When the U.S. imposes sanctions on
Huawei and ZTE for security reasons, they mainly aim to
weaken in their future 5G development activities that
accelerates technological innovation.

Indeed, 5G will facilitate the development of autonomous cars and trucks and all connected robots and cobots, and to enter the world of hundreds of billions of connected objects
that will punctuate our future lives, and accentuate the development of techniques
virtual reality. All these transformations will begin before ten years.
annual markets are larger than the sum of GDP’s GDP.
Germany and France.

China is also pushing the development of electric cars
and hybrids in order to pre-empt manufacturers’ innovations
by forcing them to produce in China, and to fight against the
local pollution. China produced 27 million vehicles in 2017
compared to 17 million in the United States and 15 million in Europe, and continues
invest heavily in this sector

And what about Europe?

We cannot conceive of Europe’s future as a mere consumer of imported autonomous and electric vehicles when we would be closing dozens of factories and cutting hundreds of thousands of stable jobs manufacturing low-emission vehicles sovereignly.

Long-term strategies, which are the only ones capable of simultaneously saving our living conditions and our standard of living, are naturally far from slogans and false promises. They can only be conducted by informed and mature peoples. A crazy dream?