“My car, my freedom!” This slogan, which appeared at the end of the 60's, no longer necessarily speaks to the youth.
Buying an individual car has not gone out of fashion, but it is no longer the only option. At least, that's what a Kantar study on the aspirations of Generation Z reveals, as they are more inclined than their elders to opt for car-sharing (favored by 14% of under 25) and car-pooling (22%).
This is due to their purchasing power and growing ecological awareness, favoring the use of public transport and shared services.
Faced with climate emergency, the automotive industry is taking greater account of the impact of its activities on the planet, its greenhouse gas emissions and its overall carbon footprint. And to do so, it is constantly reinventing itself.
But the most profound upheavals are not necessarily to be found where they are most expected. "There's a lot of talk about technological revolutions in mobility, but the real revolution is one of usage," asserts Lionel Jaillet, Plateform Global Leader CMF-A (Renault Group Engineering Department).
To answer this new demand, adapted mobility offers are being developed. One example is Mobilize, the Renault Group brand that is inventing the mobility of tomorrow, with its car-sharing system, no-obligation vehicle rental and subscription solutions. The overall aim is to move towards a model of soft mobility.
Starting with urban mobility, most often identified with the use of individual cars and public transport.
"We're trying to develop the use of a vehicle, not necessarily ownership," explains Sophie Blanc, Mobilize's Senior Marketing Manager. "We're talking more about lightweight vehicles like the two-seater electric quadricycle Duo or its utility version Bento (soon available), always with a view to reducing carbon footprint and footprint."
Another major challenge in making this type of offer both more environmentally friendly and profitable: optimizing what is known as the vehicle occupancy rate, the number of people on board. Today, more than half of all journeys of less than 20 km (about 12.43 mi) are made by a single person in a car.
The mobility of the future will be mostly electric, but above all with "just the right amount" (and nothing more). "Most people drive at low speeds on congested roads," points out Thomas Ehrmann, Mobilize's Chief Design Strategy. So, in the city for example, there's no need to rely on large vehicles capable of reaching 120 kilometers (about 74.56 mi) per hour in a matter of seconds: a lightweight model is more than sufficient for daily journeys.
"These are simpler objects, with minimalist design, conceived to be solid and shock-resistant, while retaining an important 'desirability' aspect", describes Thomas Ehrmann evoking, for the Duo model, an inspiration from the street culture of the 1980s and 1990s. He also emphasizes the fun aspect of the brand's smartphone-based experience: you can unlock your car, check the battery charge level, and so on.
Dacia has also made this "right-scale" mobility its philosophy. As Lionel Jaillet describes it, the brand embodies "a return to essentials and frugality, against over-consumption and 'always more'". "We need to stop this race, which has led to the generalization of SUVs," he says, advocating instead the development of a number of vehicles adapted to specific uses. Such as the Dacia Spring, a 100% electric city car and the lightest in its category, for home-to-work journeys.
Through this revolution in usage, mobility - including electric mobility - is finally becoming more affordable.
At Dacia, we offer "mobility objects that are both modern and accessible to all", that "really serve [customers'] lives", emphasizes Lionel Jaillet. While the models in the range, which today include electric, hybrid and gasoline-powered vehicles, were historically aimed at "a segment of the population that couldn't afford new cars", they now also appeal to consumers who want to "get back to basics".
As for Mobilize, "the brand is positioned as a gas pedal of the transition to electric mobility", says Sophie Blanc. It's about make it less expensive, but also open to younger users, teenagers being "a growing target". In fact, Mobilize will also offer an adapted mode of transport for those over 14 without a driving license: a version of the Duo model limited to 45 km (about 27.96 mi)/hour.
For the time being, this type of offer is based on an urban logic, "there's nothing to stop us asking how we could deploy them in smaller towns in the future", explains Sophie Blanc. "Electric mobility isn't just for city dwellers. The Spring is also successful in rural areas," says Lionel Jaillet.
Electric mobility for all, tailored to individual needs: what if tomorrow's freedom sounds exactly like that?