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Head of Global Vehicle Procurement
Posted on: 16 March 2018

Geneva Motor Show 2018: A glimpse of the future

The Geneva International Motor Show is always a highlight of the automotive industry’s calendar – and this year’s 88th instalment was no exception.

The headlines are usually grabbed by the big car manufacturers, who use the show to debut their latest new models. But the exhibits I tend to find most interesting are those that offer examples of imaginative solutions for the future of mobility.

The first such exhibit I encountered was Italdesign’s Pop.Up Next system of ‘modular transportation’. It’s basically a two-seater bubble car attached to a huge drone that can pick it up and carry it through the air.

And I didn’t have to go much further to catch several more glimpses into the future of mobility. Before me was the autonomous, electric Icona Nucleus, which describes itself as ‘the ultimate self-driving living room’. Then there was the Renault EZ-Go and the Navya Autonom Cab: two new versions of self-driving taxi, both specifically designed for use in cities. Seeing these models for myself, I could sense just how rapidly the convenience of autonomous ride-hailing is becoming a reality.


 

Alongside all these driverless vehicles, there stood a large number of driving simulators – and I couldn’t help but wonder how long it will be until those simulators become the only way we experience driving.

Autonomous motoring is certainly a big part of What’s next, but it was far from the only thing on LeasePlan’s agenda in Geneva. Over the course of 16 meetings in two days, we focused on all the hot topics facing fleets today – the hottest of which is sustainability.

Most manufacturers told us that they expect diesel to remain an important fuel, at least for the next ten years. The exception is Toyota, which has announced that it will stop selling diesel cars in Europe this year. However, Toyota is in a unique position to be able to make that decision, as diesel accounts for less than 10% of all its sales. 

Although diesel is here to stay – for now, at least – there are plenty of new, low-emission vehicles coming onto the market all the time. All the manufacturers in Geneva put a great deal of emphasis on their electric offerings, from hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to plug-in hybrids. There were nearly as many charge points on display as there were cars!

As this year’s Geneva Motor Show reminds us, this is an incredibly exciting time for the automotive industry. We are undergoing the transition from the internal combustion engine to alternative powertrains, as well as witnessing the development of revolutionary autonomous technology.

We are in a world of unprecedented choice, but also unprecedented complexity. That makes our job – understanding the needs of fleets and drivers and helping them to find the best solution – more important than ever.

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About the author

James joined Leaseplan in October 2017.  James leads the Global Vehicle Procurement team, based in Luxembourg.  Prior to joining LeasePlan, James worked for the largest Global Short Term Rental Companies (Enterprise and Hertz) for a total of 24 years.  James has worked in Operational and Procurement roles and has overseen the purchase of more than 2.5m vehicles prior to joining LeasePlan. 

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