Making the Future of Mobility


Making the Future of Mobility

How chemical and material companies can shape the Future of Mobility

Tomorrow’s mobility ecosystem will have fleets of autonomous and/or electric vehicles. Those vehicles are likely to require a new catalogue of materials and chemicals to make everything from batteries to simplified powertrains and customizable interiors. What does the mobility of the future mean for chemicals and specialty materials companies, and how should these companies address the challenges?

Willem Vaessen & Fred Nijland - 10 July 2018

Prepare for the new mobility landscape

A car currently consists of approximately forty distinct material classes, and in each class there are thousands of specific grades of materials and hundreds of thousands of individual products. The car’s exterior and interior, as well as the materials under the hood were all developed by chemical and material science. Advances in these industries have shaped and enabled developments in mobility in the past century and will continue to do so in the future.

For example, developments in battery technology pushed—and continue to push—electric vehicles towards maturity; autonomous vehicles, which hardly crash, are likely to have reimagined interiors and new body materials.

In addition: the ongoing shift towards shared mobility appears to place new demands on suppliers, with vehicles utilized more heavily and specifications increasingly dictated by fleet operators rather than OEMs.

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Disruption of chemicals and special materials ecosystem

Although the pace and breadth of these shifts may follow well-known paths, there is also the very real possibility that the changes will be highly disruptive across the entire chemicals and special materials ecosystem. Companies in this ecosystem have a choice: they can actively shape the new demand and co-create the new mobility landscape, or they can simply react to new developments, in which case they are likely to find themselves holding a shrinking—and commoditized—share of the transportation materials market.

In the article Making the future of mobility our American colleagues dive deeper into the subject. They anticipate four concurrent future states emerging within a new mobility ecosystem, emanating from the intersection of who owns the vehicle and who operates the vehicle: personally owned driver-driven cars, shared driver-driven cars, personally owned autonomous cars and shared autonomous cars.

All of these future states are expected to exist in parallel for some time, with effects of geography and demography on when and how quickly new forms of mobility are adopted. Cutting across all of these future states is likely to be the growing prevalence of electric vehicles.

Smart materials

Each of the key dimensions of the future of mobility—shared transportation, self-driving cars, and electric vehicles—could significantly affect the business of chemicals and materials companies. Next to that, we also expect a general shift from materials that play a purely structural role to those that provide both structure and a specific function—often a digital function.

Some characterize these as “smart materials” because of the amount of materials design (advanced composites) that goes into them or the fact that they respond to certain stimuli.

Manufacturers of lightweight materials, coatings, battery materials and in-vehicle entertainment and information systems will have to think about how to address the changes in the future of mobility. They should consider all possible scenarios, including the disruptive ones.

5 tips for finding new solutions

To deconstruct the challenge and approach the development of new solutions at an ecosystem level, companies should: 

  1. Start deep-diving into the customer and supplier journeys and create a thorough/rich understanding of them.
  2. Think about the functional requirements that would solve those customer needs—and break down those requirements into targeted engineering and business models.
  3. Understand and define an ecosystem of capabilities. All the required capabilities are unlikely to reside within the four walls of a single enterprise. For chemicals and materials companies that could mean partnering with automakers and suppliers and also with technology and media companies, fleet operators, and, for smart infrastructure, city governments.
  4. Apply design thinking approaches with the ecosystem and co-create; experiment using mock-ups and prototypes.
  5. Create an effective collaborative model for each of the individual problems in the ecosystem, from design to full-scale production. Approaches should be different from the tier relationships that are currently common in the automotive sector.

Client case: Strenghten value spaces for future growth

Exponential technologies will increase the speed of change. The future shifts and disruptions likely to come in mobility will have a big impact on materials providers to the automotive sector. A large materials provider to the automotive sector collaborated with Deloitte to develop a long-term strategy. We believe that the new mobility ecosystem will negatively impact half of the 17 systems components of a car in the next decade. This should be integrated in the long-term strategy review.

Based on the scenario’s it was vital for the team to determine:

• Where does your company want to play? E.g. which new systems and market segment?
• How does your company want to win? E.g. which new materials, solutions or offerings?
• How should your company configure for success? E.g. which new partnerships and capabilities?

Deloitte assesed that the company’s future growth is on the edge of the core business. An edge is a value space that is starting to disrupt, driven by big shifts and disruptors entering your value space. The company should therefore assess which of the 10+ value spaces (such as car interiors, infotainment, electronics and electrical) we defined in our article are potential true edges, how many edges in its long-term portfolio it needs and how it enables serial innovation.

With these insights, the materials provider will organize itself 'around' these edges by applying an agile and entrepreneurial lean startup approach for selected value spaces.

Start now

Chemicals and specialty materials companies will play a critical role in realizing the future of mobility. Their innovations will allow us to fulfill the promise of a transportation system that is faster, cheaper, cleaner, and safer than today.

But the future won’t wait. Chemicals and materials companies should start now, by revisiting their product portfolios in light of these trends and considering who the partners are that can help them innovate for tomorrow’s mobility solutions.

This blog is a summary of the article Making the future of mobility, written by our Deloitte colleagues globally. You can read the full article here.

More information

Do you want to know more about how to address the challenges your company faces with regard to the future of mobility? Don’t hesitate to contact Willem Vaessen or Fred Nijland via the contact details below.

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